Jerusalem will soon have two medical centers where invasive neurological-neurosurgical- neuroradiological procedures including treatment of strokes will be available. Shaare Zedek Medical Center is opening an invasive stroke treatment unit to be led by neurology and intensive care specialist Dr. Roni Eichel, who will move over from the capital’s Hadassah-University Medical Center in Ein Kerem, where he was a founder of its stroke unit.

The new department will be run as part of the hospitals neurology department which is directed by Professor Isabelle Lubetzky.  It will offer brain catheterizations to try to prevent a stroke from causing major and irreversible damage. The intention is to expand it to an active neurosurgery facility that until now only existed in Jerusalem at Hadassah.

Dr Eichel will be joined by Professor Natan Bornstein, a senior neurologist at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, who will be director and coordinator of the whole neurological-neurosurgical- neuroradiological service at SZMC.

A spoksperson from Shaare Zedek said ‘Precious minutes can pass if an ambulance has to race to Ein Kerem rather than to SZMC opposite Mount Herzl’

Dr Eichel said that his unit’s motto will be “faster, faster, faster” in the event of a stroke. “Every minute that passes without treatment [by clot-busting drugs] means the dying of two million brain cells.” SZMC said it is training its neurology staff to give especially speedy service to stroke victims who arrive at its emergency room.  Drugs have to be given within four-and-a-half hours of a stroke and brain catheterization can be performed within six to eight hours.

Some 15,000 Israelis suffer strokes in an average year with around 2,000 living in Jerusalem.  Only a small percentage of these people get seen within the ‘golden hour’ when treatment is most likely to be successful and so this new department within  Shaare Zedek will be an asset to the hospital.