A New Heart at Long Last

The nightmare of Pini Yuval, 57 years old, started 17 years ago when he was just 39. That's when he had his first heart attack. His situation continued to deteriorate. He suffered three more severe heart attacks and was told, by his cardiologist at Rabin Medical Center, that the only way to save his life was a heart transplant. A year later he was placed on a priority list of donors, yet the designated heart never arrived.

His health continued to decline, until October 2005 when Mr. Yuval was admitted into the heart and lung transplant unit. His heart was not functioning. He suffered from shortness of breath and severe pain. His situation was so severe that the doctors could not release him and as a result Pini laid waiting in the hospital for a year and eight months awaiting the arrival of the donor. He was up for a transplant four times, but complications always seemed to arise that prevented the surgery from taking place.

The end result was worth it. The moment that Pini and his family were waiting for finally arrived: a new and healthy heart was successfully transplanted into Pini by Dr. Benny Medallion. After a year and eight months, Pini, who now was a member of the family at Rabin Medical Center, said goodbye to the hospital staff and doctors and returned home with his family to Kibbutz Kfar Giladi, situated on the border between Israel and Lebanon. When Pini was asked just before he left the hospital, "what is your wish for the future?", he responded, "to sit on my balcony and breathe in the clean air of the Galilee."

Pini's dream to take in the clean air of the Galilee did not last very long. He was released from the hospital at the end of June 2006 and within days the hills of the Galilee began to shake with the sounds of war. Pini's house is adjacent to the Lebanese border. Missiles flew over Pini's house in all directions, from Lebanon to Israel and from Israel back to Lebanon. Pini, who was trying to recover from complicated surgery, hesitated to leave the comfort and sterility of his home for a safe haven in the center of the country due to his fragile state of health. When the director of Beilinson hospital, Dr. Yaakov Yahav, heard Pini Yuval's story he volunteered to host him and his family at his home in the center of Israel. Only after a missile directly hit Mr. Yuval's home did he finally agree to accept Dr. Yahav's invitation to be a guest in his home and is now currently a guest in his home.

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