A month before his wedding, a risky operation saved Eli Azari’s life

With almost no chance of survival, bridegroom Eli Azari was taken to Rambam Medical Center after having suffered a severe stroke. Only 38 years old, it had already been seven and a half hours by the time he arrived at the hospital, leaving his chances for survival slim. “90% of patients who arrive in Azari’s condition do not survive. His chances of recovery were almost non-existent,” said Dr. Yaaqov Amsalem, Head of the Invasive Neuro-Radiology Department in Rambam.

Eli with doctor
Eli Azari with Rambam’s Dr. Yaaqov Amsalem, the doctor who saved his life


Strokes are the third most common cause of death, both In Israel and worldwide. Only 5% of stroke cases arrive in the hospital in time for treatment – mainly due to lack of awareness about stroke symptoms. Brain catheterization, a highly advanced technology that lengthens the narrow window of opportunity for stroke patients, is a very difficult and delicate procedure. Luckily for Azari, he arrived in Rambam Medical Center, one of only five hospitals in Israel able to perform this procedure.

Amsalem quickly decided to try to save this young man’s life, despite the unlikely odds. The next day, Azari woke up from his coma with minimal brain damage. “Azari is going to walk out of here completely recovered. It’s a medical miracle,” said Dr. Amsalem.

Now, he is looking forward to celebrating his wedding to fiancé Pazit Asaraf, which was only slightly postponed. For now, they are perfectly happy to celebrate his sheer survival. “I still can’t believe I’m alive.” says Azari. “Thank god I was taken to Rambam.”


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