Prof. Bernardo Vidne, former director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Rabin Medical Center, visited Uzbekistan in October 2009 to discuss the possibility of cooperation between Rabin Medical Center and the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health. Prof. Vidne was accompanied by Dr. George Frenkel, a cardiothoracic surgeon at Schneider Children's Medical Center of Israel, an independent hospital whose doctors partner with numerous departments at Rabin Medical Center.
The trip included a visit to the Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute, where Prof. Vidne and Dr. Frenkel met two children (one only two years old) who had undergone unsuccessful heart surgeries. Prof. Vidne and Dr. Frenkel immediately decided to attempt to perform the necessary surgical procedures to assist the children. The procedures were successful and the two children now have a chance to live normal lives. Prof. Vidne indicated that the operations were successful despite the fact that the equipment put at their disposal was extremely outdated compared to current Israeli standards.
Prof. Vidne and Dr. Frenkel also visited the Uzbekistan Ministry of Health, where they gave several lectures and presentations on up-to-date methods of cardiothoracic surgery to an audience of professors and students at the Tashkent Pediatric Medical Institute and the Tashkent Medical Academy. This type of cooperation is a first step towards the development of future close collaboration between top cardiothoracic surgeons in both Israel and Uzbekistan. Future exchanges of medical delegations are also planned.
Prof. Vidne was director of the Rabin Medical Center Cardiothoracic Surgery Department from 1991 until 2006, when he retired. He recruited Haifa-born Dr. Eyal Porat to become the next director of the department. Dr. Porat is the former Director of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery and Robotics Program at The University of Texas-Health Science Center and founder and Director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Research and Robotic Technology at Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston. Dr. Porat heads the Cardiothoracic Surgery department, which is now the leading department in Israel, with an international standard of service and care.
A year ago, 71 year-old Gershon Gefen underwent a heart transplant with the "Heart 2 device," a permanent artificial heart, at Rabin Medical Center's Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, headed by Dr. Eyal Porat. Going abroad was the last thing on his mind.