Israeli Consulate Hosts Kaplan Medical Center Pitch Before Closing its Doors

With just over a month before the official closing date, no one’s put up the “Going out of Business” sale signs at the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region in Center City.

With just over a month before the official closing date, no one’s put up the “Going out of Business” sale signs at the Consulate General of Israel to the Mid-Atlantic Region in Center City.
It’s too late to walk into the building and get a passport or visa — that now goes through the New York office — but just as important, Philadelphia will miss the many sponsored events that will cease once Consul General Yaron Sideman, Deputy Moran Birman and the staff vacate the premises Aug. 15.
For instance, on July 6, Kaplan Medical Center CEO Carlos Gruzman and chief cardiologist Professor Kobi George addressed a group of community leaders. Their goal was to raise awareness of Kaplan’s plans to build a state-of-the-art cardiac center in Rehovot, Israel within the next few years.
They arrived in Philadelphia the morning of Independence Day, participated in the July 5 ceremonies to mark the 40th anniversary of the Raid on Entebbe, then met with individuals who weren’t able to attend the consulate event.
Having already been promised two-thirds of the expected $45 million cost by the state of Israel, they need the rest to come from American donors.
“We came here because we need financial assurance for the cardiac center,” said Gruzman, a native of Argentina, who gave a presentation of the project, while George discussed the medical aspects. “We are saving lives in cardiology every single day.
“It would be wonderful for Israel to be able to build a new building with six floors and everything included to be the largest cardiac center in the Middle East. But we’re here not only because of money. We want people to know about Kaplan.”
Founded in 1953 and named in honor of Eliezer Kaplan, Israel’s first finance minister and a strong Zionist, Kaplan now serves more than 1 million Israelis. In addition, it’s recognized as a top trauma center, as well as a leader in disaster relief, having headed recent rescue efforts in Haiti and Nepal.
At the same time its cardiac unit has made strides in taking much of the danger out of bypass surgery, cardiac catheterizations and other procedures.
“Cardiology has such specialties,” George said. “We want to build a heart center that can patch all these units together — cath labs, MRIs, ICU units, heart scans —with sophisticated imaging and modalities dedicated to the heart.
“Our vision is to have all the niches built into a single structure. Usually some of those units are outside the hospital. Our idea is to have everything combined for kind of a one-stop shopping cardiac center.”
The planning has been in the works for a couple of years, with everything in place to begin construction, with completion by 2018.
Now all they need is the money.
In the interim, one of George’s surgical techniques has revolutionized the field. He goes through the hand and wrist rather than the groin to insert stents, do cardiac caths and other procedures which normally would require at least a couple of days of recuperation. This enables the patient to be discharged within a matter of hours.
“In the United States, 40 percent of procedures go through the hand,” he said. “In my labs, 95 percent go through the hand. We use more skill to navigate.”
That’s an example of what is really a revolution in cardiology.  We can avoid many bypass surgeries by using stents.  And we can replace valves with a cath and local sedation instead of opening the chest by inserting them through the arteries.”

No one’s quite sure exactly how long it will take to raise the $15 million needed to get the project underway.  But combining the historic occasion of Yoni Netanyahu with their sales pitch Gruzman and George hope is a start.

“The idea of doing something so specific has only grown in recent years, said George, who says his name Kobi is a modernized take on Yakov (Jacob) and who had no idea a more famous Kobe –named Bryant—grew up just miles from where he was speaking.  “The success of the heart center has made our sponsors to contribute 67 percent of the budget allocated to the program.  All we need is 33 percent more,

“It’s kind of a statement saying this is something we should invest in, because you’ve proven yourself,  If we do a good initial start here it means the program will go on.”

Too bad its host, the Israel Consulate for the Mid-Atlantic Region, won’t be able to say the same.

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