Sheba Medical Center Attempts to Save Eyesight of 7-Year Old Ukrainian Boy
The phone call to Sheba Medical Center, came out of nowhere and the tone reflected a sense of urgency.
A fledgling Ukrainian outreach organization-ukrainecorridor.org- created by a group of Israeli start-up entrepreneurs, led by Oran Singer (CTO-Futura Genetics) and Shaked Goldstein (COO-Samsung Next Tel Aviv-VC), was in dire need of medical assistance to save the eyesight of a young Ukrainian boy, afflicted with a rare and degenerative disease.
Mykhailo and Timofey, 7-year old twin sons of Anna and Dmitry Shpak, from a village near Kiev were born prematurely.
Mykhailo was diagnosed with an aggressive form of retinopathy, which can cause
severe damage to the retina of the eyes, and irreversible vision impairment.
Worse yet, their home was bombed and the village conquered by invading Russian forces. Anna, Mykhailo and Timofey managed to evacuate to Mukachevo, as Anna’s husband was called upon for military duty to defend Kiev.
Anna had been desperately looking for an ophthalmologist and possible surgery for Mykhailo. She managed to contact the Ukrainecorridor.org, which was working on complex medical evacuations of refugees. They set up an initial assessment with a doctor in Israel along with an organizational translator. A surgical outcome was advised that might save some of his sight. But time was indeed running out.
With a closing window of less than a day to reach the last planned special aid flight from Kishinev, Moldova to Israel, Sheba Medical Center was contacted. Within minutes Prof. Arnon Afek, Deputy Director General of Sheba Medical Center gave the green light to provide gratis humanitarian treatment of Mykhailo. At the same time Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials were contacted and immediately confirmed the ability of Anna, Mykhailo and Timofey to come to Israel on a humanitarian basis.
Anna immediately set out to Kishinev, defying military curfews, closely supported by people on the ground.
After arriving in Israel, they traveled to Sheba’s renowned Goldschleger Eye Institute, where both Mykhailo and Timofey were greeted with open arms and examined by Prof. Tamara Wygnanski and Dr. Amir Alhalel, Director of the Goldschleger Institute.
While Mykahailo’s delicate situation was being evaluated by Sheba Medical Center, the family was able to spend some quality time touring the country, including a visit to the popular Ramat Gan Safari near Tel Aviv.
“We feel very safe here and everyone knows that best doctors and the best sweets are in Israel. I am very thankful to Prof. Afek and the eye doctors who are trying to save Mykhailo’s vision,” said Anna.