JERUSALEM (Aug. 26)
Ovadia Masri, 50, of Beersheba, was pronounced “stable but still not out of danger” by doctors at Hadassah Hospital Wednesday afternoon after undergoing a hear-transplant operation during the night.
It was the first such surgery performed in Israel in 20 years. Two operations done by Prof. Maurice Levy of Tel Aviv in the late 1960’s both failed.
Wednesday’s operation comes a year after the Health Ministry awarded Hadassah a licence to perform heart transplants. Since then, the Jerusalem Medical Center has trained a team of doctors and nurses and has awaited the right circumstances in which to perform the operation.
Masri, with a chronic heart disease, has been waiting — along with other potential recipients — with even greater avidness for these circumstances to materialize.
They did so on Tuesday when a young man (not identified) died at Hadassah after earlier telling doctors that he agreed to his heart being transplanted. The operation began at midnight and went on until dawn, with the team led by South African-born Hadassah cardiologist Prof. Joseph Bolman.
The Hospital Rabbi and the chief rabbinate were kept informed, according to Hadassah spokesmen, and all halachic requirements were fulfilled.
Medical sources believed that if this operation succeeds others would quickly follow at Hadassah, and subsequently at other Israeli hospitals.