The Department of Hematology at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center has significantly increased the number of patients treated since Professor Jacob Rowe joined as the Department’s Director in early 2011. Well-known as one of Israel’s leading hematologists and researchers, Professor Rowe’s reputation has helped welcome patients from all over Israel and even abroad.
The Department, staffed by six senior physicians, two fellows and 2 residents alongside a dedicated team of nurses, is defined by an underlying commitment to do whatever is necessary to provide the patient with the best possible chances at recovery from their conditions. Often that involves securing funding to procure specific drugs and therapeutic agents which are not covered by the national healthcare bill.
The primary diseases treated in the Department are leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Where relevant, the Department works to help patients receive bone marrow transplants, with all coordination done at Shaare Zedek and the transplant itself being performed at other area medical facilities. At any given time, there are about twenty leukemia cases being treated, with that number on the constant rise – including an increasing number of referrals from other area hospitals.
Following Professor Rowe’s appointment, Shaare Zedek was added as a member of the National Cancer Institute in the United States, which was made possible through an affiliation with Northwestern University, a member of the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group.
While hematology is naturally a department defined by devastating illnesses and all too much loss of life, at Shaare Zedek we take great pride in the many stories of hope and recovery that we are able to facilitate. Many people, who arrive in the hospital thinking that their lives are coming to an end are offered hope by the care that the Department is able to provide.
In recent months, we have been fortunate to recount the success story of an 86 year old woman who was diagnosed with leukemia. Often a woman of that age would be given little to no chance at recovery but Professor Rowe observed that biologically speaking she was much “younger” than her age conveyed. She responded well to aggressive treatment and is now in full remission. The Department also recently treated a pregnant woman for lymphoma who is also described to be responding well and Professor Rowe says that he is confident that the level of care offered at Shaare Zedek translates into a higher success rate in serious hematology cases than what exists at most other leading hospitals.
The department of hematology is known for making extraordinary efforts and a personal commitment to provide the highest level of care— which often involves procuring medications or specialized facilities which are not covered by third party insurers.
“The nature of the hematologist is to never say that there’s nothing left to do for our patient,” Professor Rowe says. “Our field says that there is always something else we can try and based on the successes we have seen by adopting this approach, I am committed to continuing to embrace this vision of doing whatever is in our power to give the patient the chance at recovery and a better life.”