News and Events

World Expert Performs Leg-Saving Surgery on UK Child at Rambam HCC

Publication Date: 2/19/2018

​​​Last week, 7-year-old Kyra Warrel, from the UK, underwent a successful innovative surgery at Rambam Health Care Campus by visiting surgeon Dr. Dror Paley. The procedure has saved her leg and given her new hope for the future.

​Following the successful surgery, Kyra 
celebrates her birthday with 
Professor Eidelman.
Photo Credit: Pioter Fliter​Following the successful surgery, Kyra celebrates her birthday with Professor Eidelman. Photo Credit: Pioter Fliter

Kyra Warrel, a 7-year-old girl from the south coast of England suffers from a rare condition called proximal focal femoral deficiency (PFFD), which affects fewer than 1 in 50,000 children globally. The spunky child who adores gymnastics has a deformed hip, shortened left thigh, and unstable knee and ankle that require a heavy, painful prosthetic. Untreated, her left leg would grow eight inches shorter than her right. Doctors at Britain's National Health Service decided the only option to prevent further hip and spine complications was an above-the-knee amputation. This would let Kyra wear a better fitting prosthetic limb, but condemn her to a lifetime of disability, pain, and medical treatments. However, her parents believed there had to be another option. Their research led them to Dr. Dror Paley, an Israeli-born orthopedic surgeon and founder of the Paley Institute at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. The institute helps children and adults suffering from a wide range of complex congenital, developmental, and post-traumatic orthopedic conditions.

Florida is far away and the operation expensive. When Kyra's parents, Rima and Neil Warrell, heard that Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, was hosting a unique course "Internal Lengthening Course" in the field of limb extension in children, they contacted Professor Mark Eidelman, Director of the Pediatric Orthopedics Unit, who agreed to operate on their daughter under the guidance of and with his visiting mentor, Dr. Paley. Rima and Neil set up a crowdfunding site via Facebook to share their daughter's plight, raising over 90% of the cost from hundreds of private donors and organizations of all religions around the world. The family, who is not Jewish, emotionally described the outpouring of support from Israelis, including a stocked fridge, meals, places to stay and visits to the hospital. Rambam’s staff learned that Kyra would be celebrating her seventh birthday while hospitalized. On the special day Kyra was surprised by the outpouring of love as staff from all over the hospital visited and brought her gifts and encouragement for her new life. The family must now raise $132,000 for the second operation, which will take place in Florida.

Rima described their last day in Haifa, worried about Easy Jet's no fly policy for casts less than 48 hours old. She messaged Professor Eidelman. "He immediately replied and brought forward our appointment … What UK doctor gives his personal mobile and lets you get in touch in the middle of the night?? We love this man!... within 2.5hrs Kyra had x rays, new bandages, new cast, an examination, and we picked up a copy of all X-rays and blood tests to take home. Talk about efficient!"

Rima described the doctor's great bedside manner, making their daughter giggle and giving her the blue cast she wanted. "I was a little emotional saying goodbye to the surgeon. We'll never see him again and he worked side by side with Dr. Dror Paley on Kyra's hip. We saw him daily for about a week and always reassured us if we were worried."