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Shirman Released from Hospital; Doctors Guarded on Recovery

Soviet immigrant Michael Shirman, whose battle against leukemia captured headlines worldwide, has been released from the Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center after receiving a bone marrow transplant.

Doctors at the Medical Center were guarded in assessing Shirman’s chances for total recovery after he received bone marrow donated by his sister, Inessa Fleurova, in a complex transplant operation January 3, although they described his initial response to the procedure as “amazing” and said that his white blood cell count is normal.

But Dr. Shimon Slavin, head of the Medical center’s Bone Marrow Transplant Department, cautioned that in difficult cases such as Shirman’s the disease is likely to return. It will be at least six months. Slavin said, before doctors can accurately predict his chances for a full recovery.

Shirman, a cancer researcher, attracted world attention when Soviet authorities denied his sister permission to immigrate to Israel to attempt to save her brother’s life. Doctors feared her arrival in November was too late to help Shirman, whose condition had deteriorated over the intervening months.

Medical Center specialists will keep Shirman under close watch over the coming months, they said. The Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center is Israel’s official bone marrow transplant center, and its physicians and researchers have won international recognition for their advances in matching donors and recipients and in preventing rejection and post-operative infections.

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