In the fraction of the second of a fateful fall he managed to thank God for the good life he’d lived.
I thought I knew the details of this miracle story, which made its way around the world. You can find it on sites abroad like that of the NBC’s Today Show, the Daily Mail and of course The Jerusalem Post, written by Maayan Hoffman. Like many real-life stories I’ve written over the years, I later discover there’s a story behind the story that makes them even more miraculous.On February 14, 2020, Kamel Abdul Rahman, a private investigator for a major Israeli agency and father of three, finished praying at the Abu Ghosh mosque and went to check on the construction of his new home. Like many houses in Abu Ghosh, his was based on the addition of a floor above an existing home, in this case belonging to his wife’s parents. Rahman opened the door to the outside of this second floor apartment and slipped, falling head first. He assumed he was dying. In the fraction of the second of his fall he managed to thank God for the good life he’d lived: the caring family that brought him up, his wife and children, his career.And then he landed. A long iron rod upright on the ground penetrated his skull.
Venezuela-born neurosurgeon Samuel Moscovici was summoned to the shock trauma center at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem. There he saw a man with a metal pole entering one side of his head and coming out the other.Dr. Moscovici is unflappable. Not long before this case he repaired the skull of a 10-year-old boy who had fallen down an elevator shaft. He waited for the CT scans, and consulted ear, nose and throat colleagues. He would have also asked for an MRI but the rod was metal and that made a magnetic resonance imaging impossible.The rod missed two major arteries that bring blood to the brain, but the full extent of the damage was still unknown. Dr. Moscovici and his team began removing the 12 millimeter (half an inch) thick rod, moving very slowly. An unseen tear would mean immediate death. Four hours later it was out! And no, Moscovici didn’t save it. Once Rahman was stabilized, a second 10-hour surgery endoscopically, through the nose, stopped cerebrospinal fluid from leaking, and the skull was closed using the patient’s belly fat.