Israelis grow new skin for toddler burn victim from P.A.

May 8, 2019

RAMAT GAN, Israel (Press Release) —  After barely escaping a house fire that burned 50% of her small body, 18-month-old Shams Ismail was rushed from the Palestinian town of Rantis to Sheba Medical Center, Tel HaShomer in Israel,where she received life-saving treatment in the hospital’s renowned National Burn Unit. With the care and innovative treatment capabilities of Sheba’s medical professionals, the Palestinian toddler is now in stable condition and is beginning to heal with a new lease on life.

After being brought to Sheba, Ismail hovered between life and death for several days, but thanks to the work of Prof. Josef Haik, Dr. Moti Harats, Dr. Gregory Troddler and Dr. Ayelet Di Segni, the child is in the midst of making a miraculous recovery.

To save the toddler’s life, the team of plastic surgeons utilized Sheba’s Kauffmann-Green Skin Engineering Laboratory to grow new skin from just millimeters of Ismail’s own remaining healthy skin in a bold new attempt at repairing the extensive skin damage. Within 10 days, there was enough new skin to cover the toddler’s burned stomach area.

“Using one’s own skin to grow additional skin in a laboratory and graft it back onto the body is essentially the best treatment available to burn victims today,” said Prof. Haik, Director of the National Burn Center at Sheba Medical Center. “When Ismail came to us, she was in a very severe condition with no certainty of survival. Our highly talented team of medical experts at Sheba Medical Center was able to treat her with this new method, and now we are beginning a long and hopeful rehabilitation regimen on the road to recovery.”

Today, Ismail remains at Sheba Medical Center, where she continues to receive skin grafts and care from Prof. Haik and his team.

This was the first time in Israel where a state-of-the-art skin bank was used for such an extreme burn case. But Ismail’s harrowing story is not the only instance in which Sheba has worked to spread peace through treating children worldwide. Last year, a baby born to Syrian refugees made repeated visits to the hospital for critical heart surgery, and in January, Sheba announced the launch of I-PEARLS (Israel Pediatric Aesthetic and Reconstructive Laser Surgery) to provide life-changing treatments for pediatric burn victims.

As the largest and most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East, Sheba Medical Center prides itself as a hospital without borders and welcomes patients of all nationalities, races and religions. The hospital was recently ranked as one of the “10 Best Hospitals in the World” by Newsweek Magazine.

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