Six-year-old Ruthie Rosenthal, who suffered paralysis of her hands and legs after a fall, is now up and walking, thanks to innovative back surgery by the Hadassah Medical Center’s team of multidisciplinary specialists.
Ruthie, who has Down Syndrome, had been in a wheel chair since she fell and dislocated her vertebrae about a year ago. As Senior Hadassah Orthopedist Josh Schroeder explains: “She had undergone lumbar spinal fusion surgery at another hospital, but the screws used to connect her skull and chest created pressure on her spine that caused her to stop walking and lose the function of her hands.”
When Ruthie arrived at Hadassah, her condition was life-threatening. “It was clear that she required immediate surgery,” Dr. Schroeder relates, “so I contacted the head of the spinal surgery unit at Hadassah, Dr. Leon Kaplan, to draw up a plan for the complicated operation.”
The multidisciplinary team included Dr. Schroeder, Dr. Kaplan, Pediatric Neurosurgeon Dr. Moni Benifla, Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist Dr. Menahem Gross, as well as a group of senior anesthesiologists.
Prof. Kaplan is the only person in Israel who performs this surgery, notes Dr. Schroeder. Elaborating on the complex surgical procedure, Dr. Schroeder explains: “We cut away the upper part of the spine and released the previous fusion in order to free the posterior vertebrae. We then performed a new fusion. Spinal surgery on such a narrow spine is very dangerous and sensitive and requires precise and meticulous work.”
Dr. Schroeder reports that Ruthie is now walking with greater strength and her hands function perfectly. Expressing his appreciation, Ruthie’s father, Pinny, says: “We received a new child. I want to thank first and foremost the Creator of the World who guided the doctors, headed by Josh Schroder, to find a cure for our Ruthie.” He added: “They succeeded in doing the unthinkable.”