Four weeks ago, Kamel Abdel Rahman, 46, went to visit the apartment he is building for his family. He turned the wrong way and fell from the second floor onto a iron rod that penetrated right through his head.
“I couldn’t move, so I called for help – I was shouting,” Rahman recalled. “I was conscious and I did not feel any pain at all. I do not know how to explain it.”
His family members who were with him instantly ran to him and saw what had happened.
“I saw the expression on their faces, the shock, and I heard them screaming,” Rahman continued. “I know the situation must be serious.”
The family called Magen David Adom who arrived at the scene – but by then, Rahman was deteriorating fast.
Dr. Samuel Moscovici, a senior member of Hadassah Medical Center at Ein Kerem’s Neurosurgery Department met the patient on his arrival.
“When I got to the trauma room, I saw a man with an iron rod though his head – it just went through, one side to the other,” the doctor said. “After we ensured the patient was breathing, we conducted various imaging tests to find out where the rod was positioned, what it had hit and whether it could be removed.”
The imaging tests showed that by luck the rod had entered between the two important arteries that supply blood to the brain and did not appear to damage them. The doctors, however, were concerned that there was a rupture they did not see because the rod was blocking it. If the rod was removed and the artery started bleeding it would mean sudden death.
“For many hours, we analyzed the wound, and we took the rod out of his head very carefully,” Moscovici said.
At the same time, top nose and throat doctors analyzed the pole’s penetration near the ear. After the rod was removed, Prof. Jose Cohen, head of the Endovascular Neurosurgery Unit at Hadassah, performed a brain catherization to make sure that the arteries in the brain were not damaged. But they were.
“We closed the area and waited a few days for the head swelling to go down, so we could re-analyze the situation and repair the severe damage from the injury,” Moscovici continued.
The team knew that a second surgery was inevitable, and they ultimately opted for endoscopic nose surgery to reduce the trauma and the post-operative recovery time.
The second surgery took 10 hours, during which they repaired the leakage of the cerebrospinal fluid and used fat taken from the patient’s abdomen to hermetically close the skull base.
“After surgery we were optimistic, but we did not know the level of injury or how the patient would wake up,” Moscovici said.
But almost by a miracle, Rahman woke up, showed positive vital signs and everything was working properly.
“You could certainly say he was the patient that every surgeon dreams about,” Moscovici continued.
Last week, he was released from the hospital.
“I have no words,” Rahman said. “They saved my ability to speak and walk. They saved my life.”