The Albert Katz Department of Neonatology at Sheba Medical Center is one of the largest neonatal centers in Israel. The department comprises facilities to treat premature infants, provide intermediate care, and care for full term infants born with major congenital malformations. Approximately 10,000 newborn babies are treated every year.
For the past six years in a row, the Department of Neonatology has been awarded distinction by the Ministry of Health for being an exceptional unit, recognized in particular for a low infection rate, advanced infrastructure, and an expert staff of neonatal doctors.
In addition to physicians, the comprehensive medical team also features specialized nurses, social workers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, a psychologist, a communication clinician, pharmacist and dietitian. Throughout each infant’s hospitalization, full parental involvement is supported and encouraged.
The Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital
The Department of Neonatology is located within the Edmond and Lily Safra Children’s Hospital, a state-of-the-art facility at Sheba Medical Center dedicated entirely to children and their families. In this advanced hospital, we provide compassionate, premier medical services within a calm, cheerful environment that was designed with kids in mind.
Other departments in the Safra Children’s Hospital include:
- Pediatric Rehabilitation Department
- Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes Clinic
- Department of Pediatric Surgery
- The Edmond J. Safra International Congenital Heart Center
- Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Department
- The Claudio Cohen Department of Pediatric Intensive Care
- The Raphael Cohen Pediatric Emergency Department
- The Pediatric Psychosomatic Department
- The Albert Katz Department of Neonatology
- The Weinberg Child Development Center
- The Pediatric Pulmonary Unit
- The Pediatric Metabolic Disease
- The Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit
- The Pediatric Nephrology Unit
- The Pediatric Rheumatology Department
- The Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit
- The Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit
- The Institute for Rare Diseases
- The Pediatric Stem Cell Research Institute
- The Institute of Pediatric Cardiology
- The Pediatric Community Medicine Unit
Conditions Treated at the Department of Neonatology
As one of the most progressive, experienced units in the country for neonatal medicine, the neonatology department at Sheba treats both premature infants and full term infants with major congenital malformations, infectious diseases, and common and rare metabolic diseases. Our department also cares for the largest number of twins and triplets in Israel.
Advanced medical treatments are provided for mature infants with a variety of complex congenital malformations, including:
- Brain malformations
- Thoracic and pulmonary malformations
- Cardiac malformations
- Renal and urinary malformations
- Gastrointestinal malformations
- Orthopedic problems
- Spinal malformations
Specialized Units of the Department of Neonatology
Intensive Care Unit
The Intensive Care Unit provides comprehensive care for tiny premature infants born in weeks 23-25 of pregnancy. The smallest baby treated in this department weighed only 415 grams at birth, and is currently growing and developing nicely. Our neonatal doctors also treat newborns who are not premature and are born at a normal weight, but suffer from birth defects or conditions requiring intensive care.
Once the condition of a premature infant stabilizes, the baby is moved from the ICU to one of three additional rooms located in the department. Care in these rooms consists primarily of building nourishment, increasing weight, monitoring breathing and preparing for discharge. Parents are welcome at all hours of the day.
The unit is equipped with 12 hospitalization stations, precise monitoring devices, 12 respirators, and the option of nonconventional ventilation with nitric oxide inhalation.
All newborns are brought immediately to the intermediate care unit for a few hours after birth. These hours are regarded as a transition period from fetal life to newborn life outside the womb. The intermediate care unit also enables neonatal doctors to monitor infants classified as high risk, such as babies who:
- Weigh less than 2 kg or more than 4 kg
- Are born with meconial amniotic fluid
- Have low Apgar scores
- Have mothers with diabetes
- Have an excess amount of blood
- Have trouble breathing
- Are after a difficult birth
In this ward, we provide attentive care for healthy premature infants who still need to grow before they can be discharged to their homes or transferred to the newborn unit. Parents are welcome at all hours of the day.
The Department of Neonatology at Sheba Medical Center is the only place in Israel that performs hearing tests on all newborns. Research has proven that early detection of a hearing disorder (before the age of 3 months) significantly improves the child’s speech and hearing later on.
Following initial examination and monitoring of body temperature, newborns are transferred to this unit. During their stay, immunization against hepatitis B is administered, as well as an injection of vitamin K (to prevent newborn bleeding).
To be released to their homes, all babies (whether delivered by a vaginal birth or Cesarean section) undergo comprehensive examination by a neonatal doctor. The evaluation includes checking the level of jaundice, amount of red blood cells in the blood count, PKU and thyroid gland function. Very early detection of these conditions can help prevent possible brain damage. All male newborns also undergo a test for G6PD deficiency (sensitivity to various medications).
The Department Manager
Tzipi Strauss, MD
Director, Department of Neonatology
Since 2012, Dr. Strauss has been the director of the Department of Neonatology. Prior to that, she was appointed Deputy Director of the Safra Children’s Hospital in 2010. She is actively involved in research in hemostasis and coagulation in preterm infants.
Dr. Strauss specialized in pediatric medicine at Sheba Medical Center. She completed an internship at Leiden University Medical Center LUMC, in the Netherlands, where she conducted research in the Dept. of Premature Infants. Following this time, she specialized in neonatology at premature neonatal medicine at Sheba. She also completed a MSc in Healthcare Management at Harvard University.
Prof. Ram Mazkereth, MD
Director of the NICU, and Deputy Director of the Department of Neonatology
Prof. Mazkereth led Sheba’s neonatal project from 2009 – 2010, while simultaneously serving as a leading expert for a perinatology and neonatology project in Georgia. He was recognized as an outstanding teacher by the University of California and by Tel Aviv University. Prof. Mazkereth is an active participant in many international scientific conferences, and he has published widely in medical journals.
Leah Leibovitch, MD
Senior Deputy Director, Department of Neonatology
Dr. Leah Leibovitch’s expertise is in neonatal and preterm medicine, as well as in neonatal intensive care.
Holistic Healing for Baby and Family
When we treat newborns, Sheba’s team focuses on both the tiny patients and their families – personalizing treatments to meet everyone’s unique needs. We believe in clear, open communication as a foundation of exceptional medicine, and so upon arrival to the delivery room, parents are given an information sheet explaining the primary activities carried out in our Department of Neonatology. For the comfort and convenience of new parents, we also operate the Sheba Baby Hotel on campus in the same building as the maternity ward, where rooming-in is offered to maximize bonding between newborns and their parents.