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【My China Dream】Healing hands

中国日报网 2014-05-08 17:11




Moris Topaz (second from right)volunteered to provide medical services to people injured in the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.



An Israeli surgeon's dexterity treating the largest and most serious wounds has brought him to Sichuan province again and again, he tells Liu Zhihua.

Moris Topaz finally had a good sleep on the flight from New York to China recently. The 63-year-old usually sleeps only three hours a day but that's enough, he says, to give him plenty of energy for his work.

Topaz heads the plastic surgery unit of the prestigious Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, Israel. He also serves as the secretary-general of the International Committee for Quality Assurance and Medical Technologies and Devices in Plastic Surgery.

On this, his most recent trip to China, he was part of a delegation led by Ronni Gamzu, director-general of Israel's Ministry of Health, which aimed to strengthen the cooperation of health communities in the two countries.

While "cooperation" may sound vague to outsiders, Sichuan resident Gong Fangxue has a very clear idea what that word means to ordinary people.

If not for TopCloser, a groundbreaking method for closing large wounds that Topaz applied in her operation, Gong probably would have died from a huge malignant tumor.

"It was a unique case over a very big tumor. Usually with these kinds of tumors, we have to do complicated surgeries with skin grafts or flaps," Topaz says.

"This time, we actually stretched the skin in a way we hadn't done before."

Gong, 40, found a suddenly fast-growing bump on her right shoulder in 2009. The resident of Deyang was diagnosed with a malignant spindle cell tumor.

Although it didn't spread to other parts of the body, the cancerous bump grew very fast.

Over the next two years, Gong underwent several removal surgeries, but the condition always recurred shortly after the treatments, and the tumor grew bigger and bigger.

Late last year, Gong came to the People's Hospital of Deyang City, after many other hospitals, including big ones in Beijing, refused to treat her. By that time, the tumor had become half as big as Gong's head, making her head lean toward the left. It had become difficult for her to move her neck. Worse, the tumor stretched the skin so far that at any time, the blood vessels could be broken, potentially leading to massive, even lethal bleeding.

Removing the tumor was urgent but tissues around the tumor were adhering with the tumor itself so it would be hard to avoid major bleeding, and nerve damage could cause death or paralyze her.

An operation wound so large would take a long time to heal with traditional wound-closure methods, such as skin flaps, but Gong needed quick healing so she could have radiotherapy as soon as possible and prevent a relapse.

"It was very risky to treat her, but we had to," says the hospital's president, Fan Tianyong.

"It is a hospital's duty to save lives even if the hope is very dim."

Luckily, the hospital had established a relationship with Topaz, who has superb experience and skills to treat such complicated conditions, Fan adds.

"The minute I saw pictures of the patient, I felt I must go to the hospital for her," Topaz says.

On Dec 13, 2013, Topaz operated on Gong with physicians from the hospital.

In a four-hour operation, they removed the tumor tissues carefully, and used the TopClosure system to connect the two edges of existing skin with a special plastic thread, eliminating the need for skin-implant reconstruction.

The second day after the operation, Gong felt her pain easing. Within two weeks, the wound healed, and she was able to have radiotherapy. Now regular checkups indicate she is recovering from the cancer.

It was the first time in the world that such a large wound was healed without skin flaps and implants, according to Li Yongzhong, director of the hospital's burns and plastic surgery department.

But that's just a sample of what Topaz has done to enhance medical cooperation between China and Israel.

In 2008, when news came that an 8.0-magnitude earthquake hit Sichuan, Topaz volunteered to the province's foreign experts' affairs bureau to help save critically injured victims.

He soon arrived in Deyang, one of the most severely hit areas, donating medical devices and medicines that cost 100,000 yuan ($16,000) and treating patients.

He also trained local medical professionals with advanced wound-treating methods, which helped patients with large wounds heal faster, with less infection, suffering and aftereffects.

Since then, Topaz has visited Sichuan regularly, to train local medical personnel with new plastic-surgery technologies and techniques.

In 2011, Li's hospital established close ties with Topaz's. In 2012, with help from Topaz, Li and a colleague were invited to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center to study with medical experts there.

Benefiting from Topaz's help, the hospital has exponentially extended its burns and plastic surgery department's ability and capacity: The department now has 17 doctors and nurses, up from the original two doctors.

"Professor Topaz has visited Deyang dozens of times to teach and help our doctors here in the past few years," Li says.

"He is very nice and a good friend to Chinese people."


1. What's your personal China story?

It's very special experience, because I came to China nine years ago. I had heard about China in stories but not in reality. It is very impressive to see the way China is developing in a very fast way.

2. What drew you to China?

In my profession, I come where I can do surgeries, I do good (to people). It helps me know the people. I have many friends in many places in China. You meet one surgeon in one surgery, and then you know him for life.

3. What's your life's dream?

I don't sleep much, so I don't have much time to dream! I try to do things. I'm trying to do as much as possible.

4. What's your take on the Chinese Dream? How is it related to your dream?

I think the Chinese Dream should be having China improve with better medicine, better education and better life. China is one of the most peaceful countries in the world. You should keep it good, that is important.

5. How will you think the Chinese Dream plays out in China? What does if means for international community and Chinese people?

China is very strong and is taking more and more part in the international arena. You had the most fantastic Olympic Games and are advancing in many fields.



最近,莫瑞斯·托帕兹(Moris Topaz)终于在纽约飞往中国的航班上好好地睡了一觉。63岁的他经常一天只睡3个小时,但他说,这足以给他的工作提供了充足的能量。

托帕兹是以色列哈代拉希勒雅法医学中心(Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera)的整形外科主任,他还是国际医学整形美容质量保证和设备安全委员会总秘书长。

在最近一次的中国行中,他是以色列访华代表团的一员。此代表团由以色列卫生部总司长罗尼·甘祖(Ronni Gamzu)率领,旨在加强中以双方在卫生社区方面的合作。

虽然“合作”这个词听起来很含糊,但是来自四川的龚方雪(Gong Fangxue)清楚地知道这个词对老百姓意味什么。






































(译者 darcy012123 编辑 Julie)


【我的中国梦】以色列外科医生的中国情结 【我的中国梦】以色列外科医生的中国情结



















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