Bahzad's Heart Surgery


Trying Out His New-Found Strength

Posted on Mon, 03/08/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West
As we left Jerusalem this morning for Bahzad's final echo, you could see the anticipation in his eyes. His mother had told him this was his last check up to see if he was healthy enough to return to Iraq and his family. He was dressed for traveling with his sunglasses, bubbles, music and marching shoes. 

Dr. Seggi promptly began the echo, showing us the area that had been repaired. As he was using the probe on Bahzad, the child became very upset and was waving his hands in the air speaking rapidly to his mother. When I asked Dr. Seggi if it was painful over the surgical area, he explained the mother told him the child was afraid his incision was going to come open. He also explained that the mother is also still afraid the crying was going to make Bahzad turn blue and pass out again. The doctor explained that Bahzad is as healthy now as any of us with normal hearts and he can now play, run, laugh or cry without passing out. Now I was beginning to understand why Bahzad would break into a controlled run ahead of us for a while and then return.


He is just beginning to try out his newly-found energy and strength, realizing he can do things he has never done before and not pass out. This is truly a whole new life for this child. By far, I do not understand what I see on an echo screen, even though I have had an opportunity over the past months to watch several a week. However, I have seen light shine from behind the clouds in the sky and appear as rays of sunlight. Today, whether actually or in the spirit (I don't know) I saw rays of light shining from behind this little boy's heart. I made no comment to the doctor regarding this as he didn't seem to see anything unusual, but this is the first echo I have ever seen this effect on, even briefly.

There is no doubt that this child was touched by the hand of God and He never leaves a job half done. I thank God that He has healed Bahzad's heart and has His hand on this little one's life. There will be a slight transportation delay in Bahzad's return home, so we hope to have an opportunity to show them the sea and more of God's love and the life that Messiah has prepared for those that love Him during the next couple weeks.

Celebrating Bahzad's New Life

Posted on Mon, 03/01/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

In this day and age nobody seems to like to wait anymore, but sometimes when we slow down long enough to wait we get to see and appreciate the beauty around us - like life returning to a child and the gift of laughter. Bahzad has quite a story of one miracle after another. As God has brought him from death to life, we are privileged to see more and more life come into this little boy like the scriptures say, "from glory to glory we are changed." Today at the hospital the celebration of the Purim holiday set the mood for a fun day with small gifts, lots of noise and costumes and sweets being lavished on everyone in sight. What a fun time even in a hospital! The children shared their candy and their fun with our coworker Vincent and me.

Having a friend like Parwa for company is always a great help, too. Here are a few special moments from our waiting time.

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The results of Bahzad's echo were good. He still has a very small hole in his heart that is in the process of closing on its own. Of course, we know it is the Great Physician who is still working toward the complete restoration of life for Bahzad. Please continue to keep this little boy in your prayers. If all continues as we are currently witnessing, Bahzad will be discharged to return to Iraq after next week's echo.

Bahzad Starting To Be a Child

Posted on Tue, 02/23/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_West
Bahzad is beginning to show interest in a few things children usually like. He blows bubbles, he likes to draw with bright colors and even found his way to the computer in the play room while waiting for the last of the tests to be finished so he could return with us tonight to the Shevet house in Jerusalem.

The little boy who has been fighting for his life is regaining enough strength after his surgery to begin living the life of a child. We think of most children having more energy than they can keep under control and curiosity beyond measure. He is just now beginning to look up for pictures and actually come across the room to get to see them. It is a well-known fact that children who see themselves in pictures and experience the praise and acceptance of others have a greatly improved self esteem. We are beginning to see a healthy child's life shine from within Bahzad. It is, as we say in Kurdish, "Juanna" (which means "Beautiful"). We give ALL credit and honor for what we are seeing take place in this little life to the love and the power of God shown and showered upon us through His Son.

The skill, kindness and dedication of the doctors and staff at Wolfson Hospital are a prime example of unselfish love and the Bible tells us that every good and perfect gift comes from God. Please continue to pray for this little one's life to be filled with the grace and love of God. We are so privileged to have the opportunity to be a witness to what is happening here.

Bahzad Back In The Hospital

Posted on Sun, 02/21/2010 - 06:42 by Mary_Dailey
We had to take Bahzaad back to the Wolfson Medical Center today because his mother told us he couldn't sleep, his chest was hurting him and he was getting more congested as the day went on. He also felt warm. The medical staff did a pretty thorough check on him which included a chest x-ray and other tests. During the time we had to wait he enjoyed blowing bubbles and eating a lollipop which made his lips red instead of pink this time.

Doctor Dror asked Bahzad's mother not to feed him in case the cardiologist Dr. Tamir needed to put a tube in. Bahzad's mother was upset at this prospect and started crying. Please be praying that God will give her peace and that He will give this little boy a healing touch. His life has already been changed and I believe that God is not finished yet.

Bahzad Leaves the Hospital

Posted on Thu, 02/18/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_West

Bahzad has been one surprise after another. First I was surprised at how blue a child could actually become. Then I was surprised to learn most children this serious are at high risk unless operated on during the first year of their life, and Bahzad's mother has been waiting on this surgery for six years while hanging on to hope. Next I was surprised that God's timing to save this child's life was planned to rescue him at the last possible moment. Today after only one full day in the ward, Bahzad was released to return to the Shevet house on only two little pills (for the time being). His story and remarkable recovery should be shouted around the world to the glory of God!

What a wonderful task has been completed in such a short time. Just eleven days after entering Israel we are witnessing the completion of the" things hoped for" during the last six years while only hope and faith sustained this mother.

After Bahzad's ride to Jerusalem we gathered around the table tonight for a celebratory meal, and afterword read together the story of the prodigal son and the words which resonate also in Bahzad's life: "My son was dead, and is alive again."

A Mother's Pleasure, A Child's Sad Eyes

Posted on Wed, 02/17/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

What a pleasant surprise to see Bahzad out of bed as we arrived at the Wolfson Medical Center, and even going outside to enjoy the warm breeze. His mother seemed so pleased to be pushing him all around in the wheelchair as if to say, "Look what the Lord has done!"

Bahzad's color is so much better than it was before the surgery. But I look into those beautiful big eyes, I see a sadness of a child who has not yet known the fullness of life.

The hope and joy his mother's face reflects encourages me. I pray by the help of God she will lead him into the fullness the Father has always intended for Bahzad. Please pray for this child that he will grow stronger, more joyful and curious day by day and that the fullness of life will overflow from him.

A Mona Lisa Smile of Relief as Recovery Continues

Posted on Mon, 02/15/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Today we found Bahzad out of the main and ICU and resting peacefully in the intermediate ICU. He is still being continually monitored but is now off of mechanical ventilation and breathing on his own with some supplemental oxygen through a nasal tube.
As his recovery continues the next step for Bahzad will be transfer to the regular children's ward. The smile on his mother's face today shows her great sense of relief at all that has happened.

She was quick to show me his little pink fingers and toes, which before the surgery were so very blue.

We are so thankful for God's mercy and timing for Bahzad. Please continue to keep this little boy lifted up in prayer that the healing will continue and the love of God will make him whole.

Bahzad's Beautiful Pink Lips

Posted on Thu, 02/11/2010 - 06:42 by Mary_Dailey

Today when I went to see Bahzad I was surprised to see that his lips were a beautiful pink instead of blue. I also found out that they had to re-open his chest after last night's surgery to close off some post-surgical bleeding. They left it open for quick emergency access until this morning. I noticed that Bahzad's legs and body were twitching and he was opening his eyes some, and I went out to get his mother.

She laid her hand on his head and started talking to him softly. Then she started weeping for her son and as she was weeping I noticed that his body and legs stopped twitching. She could not stop crying. This reminds me of one of my favorite old songs, "Tears are a language God understands." I know this is true because I've cried many tears and I know that tears come when you are desperate and there is no way of expressing what's in your heart.

Please continue to pray for Bahzad and his mother. God has already done a miracle and He wants us to continue praying for health of his body and spirit. Let's also pray for the medical staff, who have gone to great lengths to save Bahzad's life in the past 24 hours. Jonathan spoke to the ICU head Dr. Sion Houri at Bahzad's bedside:

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Bahzad Comes Through Emergency Surgery

Posted on Wed, 02/10/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Today began early with heart catheterization for Bahzad, that ended with a severe cyanotic spell which put him in the ICU on a ventilator (pictured above). Then doctors decided late this afternoon that it was necessary to take Bahzad in for emergency surgical repair of his heart defect, prompting much prayer from all our team. Mary was by his mother's side all day long, until about 10 PM when she and I got to see a sleeping little boy returning to the ICU with much better color already.

Please join us in our prayers for Bahzad. Doctors tell us they are pleased with the result of the surgery, and that they accomplished all that they hoped. Tonight Bahzad is recovering in the ICU, and may be weaned from the ventilator tomorrow.

When his mother saw them wheel him into ICU from surgery she gave every stranger in the waiting room a piece of chocolate candy from Iraq. The puzzled look on many Israeli faces when this Arab speaking woman walked up to them with candy sincerely required an explanation. I told them this mother has been waiting six years for her son's heart surgery, and tonight she is very grateful it has been completed!

A Strange Land, and Strange People

Posted on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 00:00 by Donna_West

Nearly six-year-old Bahzad is small for his age and is not quick to interact with people. But what sets Bahzad apart from most other children his age is that he is a blue child. His lips are the bluest I've seen since I've been here, and his fingers and toenails are not only blue but they are "clubbed." You will notice in the slideshow below the effect his particular heart defect (from birth) has had on them. The following pictures will give you an understanding of all that children go through in a strange land, with strange people, at a time when they are very sick. They show the ECG procedures along with the blood pressure being taken on each arm and leg, temperature, tuberculin tests given to the child and their mother and the echocardiogram at the end of the day.

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Bahzad's condition is so life threatening that he was immediately admitted today for a heart catheterization on Wednesday. His young mother has been waiting for six years for this opportunity for her son to receive the help he has needed from birth. Please pray that the doctors will be able to help this little boy and that God will direct their hands and minds to achieve the perfect outcome for him.