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Asian American Medical Society

In a medical miracle that has stunned the world, 12-year-old Suleiman Hassan’s life was miraculously saved after a traumatic accident left him decapitated. After being hit by a car while riding his bike, Hassan was left with a condition known as atlanto-occipital dislocation, or ‘internal decapitation’, an injury that is extremely rare and considered fatal. Atlanto-occipital dislocation involves a disruption of the ligaments between the occiput (base of the skull) and the upper cervical spine, often with or without bony fractures.

Hassan was airlifted to Hadassah Medical Centre’s trauma unit for specialised care due to the suspected cervical spine injury. Dr. Ohad Einav, a staff surgeon in orthopaedics at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, led the medical team for the surgical procedure, and they faced a variety of challenges in saving Hassan’s life. Dr. Einav explains that the atlanto-occipital dislocation has a mortality rate of 50%-60%, with the injury being particularly challenging due to the lack of specialised spinal hardware for paediatric patients. The surgical procedure, which involved attaching Hassan’s head to his neck and stabilising the damaged area with spinal hardware, was a major success. Hassan had a great recovery as he doesn’t have any motor or sensory deficits and is able to ambulate without aid.

In conclusion, Hassan’s case serves as a testament to the dedication and expertise of medical professionals who work tirelessly to save lives. The positive outcome of this extraordinary surgical case can be attributed to the team’s professional expertise, meticulous planning, teamwork and coordination.


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