Sister Małgorzata Szałkowska (second from left) with her abbess and Drs. Adele Misk (center) and Nevo Margalit

Vatican thanks Israeli doctors after saving Jerusalem nun

Doctors at Shaare Zedek Medical Center found Sister Małgorzata Szałkowska had a brain tumor that required emergency surgery; after going from a spry worker to struggling to perform basic actions, nun made full recovery, prompting touching gesture from Holy See

Einav Halabi |
Published: 06.28.22, 12:17
Letters of gratitude and appreciation aren’t a rare occurrence in the neurological and neurosurgery departments at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center, but it isn’t every day that doctors receive a thank you note from the Vatican.
  • Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter

  • Well, that is exactly what happened after the hospital's team of skilled experts saved Sister Małgorzata Szałkowska, a nun from East Jerusalem who required emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor that almost left her paralyzed.
    2 View gallery
    הנזירה שלקובצקה מלגוז'אטה עם מכתב הוקרה מהוותיקן לאחר ניתוח להסרת גידול מוחי
    הנזירה שלקובצקה מלגוז'אטה עם מכתב הוקרה מהוותיקן לאחר ניתוח להסרת גידול מוחי
    Sister Małgorzata Szałkowska (second from left) with her abbess and Drs. Adele Misk (center) and Nevo Margalit
    (Photo: Shaare Zedek Medical Center)
    Szałkowska, who has made a full recovery since the operation, says that an odd rash appeared on her body two years ago but she didn’t think much of it at the time.
    The rash was followed by an inexplicable termor in her right hand which only got worse as time passed. After almost a year, Szałkowska's ability to function normally has deteriorated so much she couldn’t work in the monastery or do simple actions like getting dressed on her own.
    Seeking help for her termor, Szałkowska turned to Dr. Adele Misk, a senior neurologist at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. He says the nun arrived with a severe tremor in her hands which raised concern about two possible conditions that require urgent treatment: advanced-stage Parkinson's or a life-threatening tumor.
    Dr. Misk requested a thorough checkup, including an electromyography (EMG) test and an MRI scan which found a 4 cm tumor located next to the area of the brain controlling motor function that could have led to complete limb paralysis.
    2 View gallery
    בית חולים שערי צדק ירושלים
    בית חולים שערי צדק ירושלים
    Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem
    (Photo: Amit Shabi)
    Szałkowska was referred to surgery in the Neurosurgery Department where she met the department’s director, Dr. Nevo Margalit. She told him she was feeling completely paralyzed and couldn't write for over a year and that her mobility was severely compromised.
    "The nun arrived with a benign meningeal tumor. It’s usually a slow-growing tumor so surgery can usually be postponed if needed," said Dr. Margalit.
    "In this case, however, the tumor’s location presented a significant challenge because it was located right on the motor cortex. This type of surgery entails a risk of severe weakness or even permanent paralysis. Her motor function deteriorated quickly and I saw her hand go from weak to nearly paralyzed within days.
    On the day of the surgery, the patient was found to be positive for coronavirus. According to protocol, patients with coronavirus can't be operated on until their full recovery due to risk of infection in a state of illness. After consultations, it was decided to go on with the operation immediately. Within a few weeks after the surgery and along with rehabilitative treatment, the hand returned to full function. We’re happy we made the right decision to operate despite coronavirus and are pleased with the good results.”
    Talkbacks for this article 0