In the previous blog on Mohammed, I wrote that Yousef reported that his heart stopped for thirty minutes a few days ago, and that the ICU staff successfully resuscitated him. However yesterday night he went into heart failure, but the doctors and nurses could not bring him back. Georgia, Yousef and I went to the hospital last night to bring his aunt to Shevet to sleep. When we entered his hospital room all the lights were dark except for one bright one right above his bed. His aunt sat by his bed, softly crying. It was a strange sort of calm, but evidence of the chaos that had ensued only shortly beforehand was all around the room. After a night’s rest Mohammed’s aunt, Yousef, and I went back to Sheba this morning to collect his death certificate, her bags left at the hospital, and his body to bring home to Gaza.
His aunt, who took such good care of him while he was here, opened the body bag as we were waiting at the Erez Checkpoint on the border of Gaza. There were no tears in her eyes, only tender admiration for her nephew. “My darling” she said in Arabic as she smiled and gently touched his face. This is how I will remember them both.
As the apostle Paul writes in Romans, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” I ask you to join our community as we reflect on Mohammed’s life: he lived, his existence matters. We pray to a God who understands death because he submitted himself to it, far from being an abstract entity who lives in the sky, we worship and cry out to a God who has scars, who knows the pain of death, yet death could not contain him. And finally, mourn with us, the Holy Spirit knows the prayers that come through tears. Please intercede for Mohammed’s family, to experience the comfort of God, the same God who tasted death and rose again to life, this new, eternal life, which he believe little Mohammed is experiencing right now.
Today was the first time I saw Muhammed since his surgery on Thursday! It was really lovely to see him and his aunt, two days in a row, as last night I was in the hospital as well, and she explained then that although she missed the end of Ramadan celebration in Gaza, Muhammed’s health comes first, so she is glad to be here. We had been told on the weekend that he was intubated and stable after Thursday’s surgery, but today Yousef was told that his heart had stopped yesterday for 30 minutes. Being so small he is still in the critical phase of recovery and still intubated, but thank God today he was stable again today.
Making Decisions for Treatment
Mohammed was enveloped in blankets this morning, as he was wheeled out of the ICU for a CT scan. I sat with his sweet Aunt for a while; this time was precious as I felt the holy spirit leading me to ask if I could pray for her and for her nephew, and thanks to the Arabic speakers in our community who can often be found so immersed in theological conversations you wonder if you didn’t accidentally stumble into a seminary class, I have picked up some vocabulary which I used to explain what I prayed for. It was a really special moment as we held hands and came before Jesus asking for this little baby from Gaza. And please join in our prayer for baby Mohammed as the results from the CT scan showed he has abnormal pulmonary circulation, and now the doctors will decide whether to put a stint in his heart via a cath or whether to place a shunt in him via surgery. Please pray for the wisdom of God to guide the doctors as they make these big decisions and peace for his amazing aunt.
The parents of newborn Mohammed say doctors in Gaza gave them no hope their firstborn son could live. They cried out for help to neighboring Israel, and at the age of two days Mohammed was rushed to the Sheba Medical Center.
Mohammed’s aunt is with him there, and says they found mercy and hope among their Jewish neighbors. Mohammed’s father is receiving pictures back home, and says he can’t believe the change he already sees in his son:
Doctors are doing extensive evaluation of Mohammed’s complex heart, and expect to take him to either surgery or interventional catheterization as soon as possible.