Sima Levy gave birth unexpectedly at home during the 26th week of a troubled pregnancy. The baby, weighing just 1.9 pounds (861 grams), was rushed to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Hadassah Hospital on Mount Scopus.

It took six months before the newborn, whom she named Rivky, was finally able to leave the hospital. “I came to understand,” Mrs. Levy says, “that Rivky wasn’t merely a child who was small and who would take some time to catch up size-wise and then be fine. She was a baby with chronic and complex medical challenges.”

And that is when Hadassah’s Pediatric Palliative and Supportive Care Center stepped in, providing not only crucial medical care for Rivky but also emotional and logistical support for the family as a whole. Founding Director and Co-Medical Director Dr. Rivka Brooks and her multidisciplinary team help streamline the medical care and serve as liaisons to the medical system the Levy family depends on to keep their little girl alive.

“The parents are the ones in charge,” Dr. Brooks explains. “We never impose anything on them. Even when the future is uncertain, our role is to empower parents to enhance comfort, safety, and meaning in children’s lives, and we feel privileged to do so.”

Read more about the Pediatric Palliative Care Center in the Hadassah Magazine article by Barbara Sofer.

Read also about the Center’s Mother’s Day Club (Yom al-Ume in Arabic), a support group for Muslim mothers who are bringing up children with chronic, life-threatening health issues.

The caption to the main picture: Dr. Rivka Brooks. Courtesy of HMO


Dr. Isaiah Wexler, co-director of the pediatric palliative care center, with center social worker Nadia Alian (left) and coordinator Faygie Waxman. Courtesy of HMO