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Leukemia Victim Receives Bone Marrow Transplant from His Sister

Michael Shirman, a 32-year-old leukemia victim, received a bone marrow transplant from his sister, Inessa Flerova, at Hadassah Hospital here Sunday, in a final attempt to save his life.

The outlook, however, is not good, according to doctors. Although the chances for success are best when the donor is a sibling, Shirman’s condition deteriorated seriously during the long wait while his sister sought to obtain an exit visa from Soviet authorities to come to Israel. She first applied last February. Shirman immigrated to Israel in 1980.

His sister was finally granted a visa in November after the Soviet authorities relented and allowed her husband and their two daughters to accompany her. Shirman himself had urged her not to come without her family because she might never see them again.

Shirman’s case drew international attention, especially after he appeared at Reykjavik last October, during the Reagan-Gorbachev summit meeting, to appeal directly to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to intervene to grant visas to his sister and her family. Although he did not get to see Gorbachev, Moscow came under intense international pressure because of the humanitarian aspects of the case. Later, Shirman came to Washington and renewed his appeal at a press conference on Capitol Hill.

The transplant procedure was further delayed after his sister’s arrival in Israel two months ago because of extensive tests that had to be made and because of Shirman’s weakened condition.

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