Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) is a hospital-based project offering all of its varied services in cooperation with the Wolfson Medical Center (WMC) in Holon, Israel. The Wolfson Medical Center is a governmental non-profit hospital, whose management and medical personnel are fully committed to the success of the SACH program.
A fully fledged pediatric cardiac medical team, including cardiac surgeons, cardiologists, anesthesiologists, heart-lung machine technicians and nursing staff, are on call for the program 24 hours a day. All the members of this outfit, numbering approximately 70 persons, volunteer a substantial part of their time to the SACH program, as they do not receive any remuneration for services they render to SACH through the WMC.
Upgrading the Wolfson Medical Center
The establishment of the Save a Child’s Heart program at the Wolfson Medical Center, in Holon, Israel has facilitated the development of a major center of pediatric cardiac excellence in an area where previously there was none. The WMC serves an economically challenged segment of the Israeli population comprised of both Jews and Arabs, living in the areas south of Tel Aviv, including Holon, Bat Yam and Jaffa. This population now benefits from the skills, equipment and facilities that have been made available to serve the SACH program. The SACH program has upgraded the hospital in terms of equipment and personnel not only in the field of cardiac surgery but also in many other interrelated departments such as intensive care, radiology, tropical diseases and others.
A center of learning
Twenty years ago, Israeli children suffering from heart disease could not be treated in Israel and the only option was to send them abroad. This led to Israeli physicians traveling abroad in order to train and develop the expertise which was lacking in Israel at the time. All SACH physicians at the Wolfson Medical Center have returned from fellowships overseas and today are using their know-how to teach others in the global community how to become self-sufficient in the area of pediatric cardiology. From this experience SACH has learned that for any health system to develop, it is essential to further the knowledge of physicians by sending them for further training to well-established medical centers, SACH considers the Wolfson Medical Center now to be such an established center. It is Israel's second most active center for pediatric cardiac surgery.
A large metropolitan hospital and referral center, Wolfson is also a teaching hospital affiliated with Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine. The Wolfson Medical Center has 60 hospital units and 700 beds, and includes a full range of facilities found in the most advanced medical centers in Israel. SACH benefits from its state-of-the-art operating rooms, outfitted with the most advanced equipment available.
Wolfson's pediatric cardiology department provides the highest level of care offered by modern medicine. Its Catheterization Unit, including the Pediatric Cath Lab, is among the most active in the country and enjoys an extremely high rate of success. The Pediatric Cardiology Unit is outfitted with the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment, thanks to a gift of the latest 3-Dimensional Echo Machine given to SACH from donors Angela and Sami Shamoon, President of Save a Child's Heart, International.
Helping save lives at the WMC
The fully-equipped 10-bed Pediatric Intensive Care Unit works around the clock to provide severely ill children with excellent treatment in a warm and caring environment. Out of 450 children treated there every year, 40% are SACH patients. Children who have undergone surgery spend their first hours in the pediatric intensive care unit and then are transferred to the Wolfson Pediatric Surgical Department. That's where SACH children from Africa, Asia and the Palestinian Authority play happily together with Israeli children. It's there that SACH's contribution to mutual understanding is clearly visible.