Ahmad's Heart Surgery


Reunion with Ahmad

Posted on Wed, 12/10/2014 - 13:27 by Agnes Bruna

On Saturday, a team from Shevet Achim had the privilege of visiting two of the Syrian refugee families in Jordan who came to us in Jerusalem for their children to get treatment in Israel. First of all, we went to the house of Abu Ahmad and were absolutely taken by surprise. Jonathan was not even sure that the baby carried out by the mother was Ahmad; he has gained 2kg since he left us the end of October!

As Ahmad’s and Mohammad’s time with us in Israel had overlapped at one point, we collected Ahmad’s family to go visit Mohammed's family and have lunch there together.

Ahmad’s mother explained that, initially, it was difficult for her that Ahmad did not recognize her when he came back. Now, however, he is very close to her and all is well. I got some lovely smiles out of him.

The whole family is very grateful for everything that was done for Ahmad, and his father talks about all the good memories he has from his time in Israel. Ryan likes taking him to the families of new Syrian refugee children who need heart surgery. Usually the result is that they listen to Abu Ahmad’s story and then say: “Sure, we will go to Israel!” This makes him a great ambassador for Israel’s part in bringing a blessing to the nation of Syria!

Back to his mother's arms

Posted on Mon, 10/27/2014 - 00:33 by jonathan

In July we took a dying baby Ahmad from his mother's arms in an ICU in Jordan, praying with her that the Lord would bring him back to her safely.

There followed a harrowing journey across the Jordan River to Israel, where ICU doctors said Ahmad would only have had a day or two more to live without intervention. Through open-heart surgery they switched back his transposed great arteries, but that was only the beginning. For ten more weeks doctors in Israel battled an aggressive infection, most of that time dedicating an entire ICU unit to the sole care of this Syrian refugee child.

Finally this weekend, the moment we longed and prayed to see. Click on the video below to watch the whole blessed story unfold, starting when we took Ahmad from his mother, and ending with his return:

Ahmad Crosses the Finish Line

Posted on Tue, 10/21/2014 - 17:12 by Kristina Kayser

We entered the echo department only to be ushered into the exam room minutes later. Ahmad had slept most of the drive to the hospital but was now wide awake and beaming with smiles. Efat, the echo technician, was rewarded with a very compliant patient today.

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Sometimes, small babies need sedation in order to remain calm and quiet during an echo. Ahmad, however, needed nothing more than playful cooing from us and a pacifier. At one point, Ahmad was watching the computer screen so intently it seemed as though he understood it was his own heart!

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The cardiac results of the echo were beautiful, and Ahmad has only two medications to continue at home.  

Almost the entire cardiology team was able to say goodbye to father and son with sincere tidings.

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You could see how much they have come to care for this adorable baby. His father was also given many words of affirmation about his diligent care and affection for Ahmad. Likewise, Abu Ahmad made sure he gave his personal thanks for the love and care the medical team invested in his son. 

Ahmad will return to his beloved mother and sisters within the next couple of days. Until then, we will enjoy his and his father's presence a little longer and celebrate Ahmad's life and healing with a special farewell party. Praise God for His steadfast love for this precious boy!

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Home Safely

Posted on Thu, 10/16/2014 - 14:21 by Rebekah Yang

Yesterday was the first day Ahamd & Abu Ahamd were back on Prophets Street after many weeks in Wolfson Hospital. Abu Ahamd was very anxious about adjusting to the new life with baby Ahamd in the Shevet community. Around 9 p.m. on the evening they came back, Abu Ahamd became very irritated and angry due to baby Ahamd’s non-stop crying. He kept saying his baby had a fever, among other symptom. I checked Ahmad’s vital signs and found out he had a slight fever with body temperature of 37.5 Celcius, and his oxygen saturation had dropped from 96% to 77%. After several times of checking and rechecking, his oxygen was still showing between 75% and 80%. At 9:30 p.m. Jesse and I decided to take Ahamd and father back to Wolfson hospital.

We explained the whole situation to the nurse and doctor on duty in the children’s ward. They immediately rechecked all of his vital signs. The result came back that his oxygen was at normal, healthy levels. After some time of discussion the doctor and the nurse decided Ahamd would stay overnight in the children’s ward to make sure he was healthy before the long Jewish holiday weekend.

Although I was very tired, and returned to Wolfson the next day to pick him up, I really want to thank God for keeping our sweet baby Ahamd safe and in the best care at Wolfson; also for His protection while we were traveling on the road between Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem. Amen!


Posted on Mon, 10/13/2014 - 21:20 by Jesse Tilman

We are glad to report that Ahmad and father are back with us in Jerusalem tonight! Ahmad had an unexpectedly early discharge today, which we only found out while we were driving to the hospital to see them. Everyone was excited to hear that these two, after being in the hospital for such a long, trying time, are finally back home in Jerusalem a whole week earlier than expected.

First, we heard that he would be discharged by noon today. Upon arrival, the hospital staff told us the earliest would be two p.m. since they wanted a blood test done before he left, as well as some time to finish his papers.

For us this meant that we would not be able to take him until after three or four p.m. because our vehicle was also transporting a child from Haifa in the north today and would not return until at least then. It ended up being nearly five in the afternoon before we finally loaded his stuff up in the van and pulled out. Abu Ahmad was getting restless by then, and kept going off in Arabic,  like he often does, even though he knows we cannot understand. It is amusing as he stares at you spouting a whole conversation while you try to make an educated guess what he is saying!

After a full day, we are happy that they are home, and Ahmad is only scheduled for one more echo in a week’s time before a probable departure! May he and his son sleep well here in their own bed away from home.

Is This the Same Baby?

Posted on Tue, 10/07/2014 - 23:11 by jonathan

Ahmad continues to progress beautifully through the 2+ month investmenof post-surgical care that Israeli doctors are making in his life and future. His father rejoiced today at a 90 gram weight gain in a single day, and also at this week's news that Ahmad could be released to return to his family in just three weeks. Ahmad's mother and sisters saw him on a video link for the first time in weeks, and expressed shock and disbelief that this was the same wasted child who they last saw in person in July.

Father and Son are One

Posted on Thu, 10/02/2014 - 21:12 by Konrad Wiedmer

As we left the hospital today, we all had a special feeling: it was the great love a father can have for his little baby, which which left a lasting impression on all of us. And we are glad to say that this father and his little baby Ahmad are one of the families Shevet Achim cares for. Normally, we go to the hospital in order to be a blessing for the parents and the children; today, however, it felt more than ever before the other way round. The father and the baby enriched us and we received beautiful moments!

Ruth, Sophie, Danny and I spend two hours with baby Hamad and his father at Wolfson Hospital, and we saw a calm and smiling baby who is progressing very well! We enjoyed every minute because we became witnesses of so much love and care of the father for his son and even for us. I wanted to offer him a tea and in the end he was the one who prepared most of it, he gave us sweets to taste, he even gave us his seat in the room. We want to thank the Lord for the kindness of this man from Syria.

It was amazing to be able to make the little baby Ahmad smile and at some point the father wanted to take a picture of us all and his little son. This was so nice of him!

What was also very special today was a phone conversation with the Wisam’s father. He and his son left Israel a few weeks ago after sweet Wisam’s successful operation and recovery. We were so glad to hear his voice because we, as well as Ahmad’s father, became friends with him. We happily greeted him and his family on the phone. Again, as I look back on the beautiful moments in the hospital today, and I am so grateful that we have the opportunity to serve these families. Praise God for all he gives us and especially for our precious little Ahmad and his father.

In His Image

Posted on Sun, 09/28/2014 - 21:59 by Julia Binder

When we came in the room, we saw Abu Ahmad from afar with his cute son in his arms. After donning our gloves and a kind of tunic, we walked in. First the father changed Ahmad’s diapers and fed him. One could see that baby Ahmad is doing well and that there is no change in his condition. He was smiling most of the time and was so happy to have our company!

I was also allowed to hold him. The whole time he observed his surroundings with his big brown eyes; it seemed like he was soaking everything in very carefully. Then he got his antibiotics for treating the infection in his heart.

Afterward, he immediately felt asleep in my arms. I love to watch him sleep; it is impossible to become bored of observing a baby sleeping. God made him so beautiful and pure, and put a smile on little Ahmad’s face in His own image.

No Longer Isolated

Posted on Sun, 09/21/2014 - 21:53 by Kristina Kayser

It was a beautiful morning in Jerusalem today as Laura and I set out for Tel Aviv. We were both looking forward to spending time with baby Ahmad, who continues his lengthy antibiotic treatment at Wolfson Hospital. It was also our hope to provide Ahmad's father with an hour or so of reprieve and leave their isolation room for some fresh air. Just outside their door, Laura and I donned the required gown and gloves prior to entering. We were met by a joyful father and his bright-eyed baby Ahmad, who was lying awake in bed and curiously observing his new visitors.

Abu ("Father") Ahmad seemed quite happy and appreciative to take us up on our offer for a little break. After he went for some lunch, us two girls sang lullabies and had a nice conversation with Ahmad. He cooed and smiled at us and soon became hungry.

Once settled in my arms with a bottle, we took turns praying over our little friend and asking the Lord to do great things through this boy and that he would grow to be a man who seeks and loves Jesus, who would serve as peacemaker between the people of Israel and his people in Syria. Ahmad soon fell asleep as we prayed and was the perfect picture of peace.

Maybe fifteen minutes later, Ahmad's father returned and seemed content to just be near his son, despite our encouragement to take a longer rest. I was so impressed by how attentive he is to his son's needs. While spending time together, the door suddenly swung open, and the head nurse, Nava, announced that Ahmad's test for KPC bacteria came back negative! This meant that he could be moved out of isolation and into a room on the pediatric ward today. With the most resistant bacteria a lesser threat now, the doctors will continue focused treatment of a different infection in Ahmad's heart with several more weeks of IV antibiotics in the pediatric ward. Thus, there was great rejoicing among us as we praised God! 

It was such a joy to be with Ahmad and his father as they traveled down the hall into their new room, shared by a family from Hebron and another family from Gaza. As they were settling in, Abu Ahmad suddenly noticed someone else had come to welcome them. Perched just outside their window was a large white cat, which apparently paid them frequent visits in their last room. Somehow, he got word of the good news and found out their new location. Abu Ahmad was very excited to greet their feline friend and held his son up for a picture. 

All in all, it was a lovely visit, full of God's grace and faithfulness. Please rejoice with us in Ahmad's progress! May we continue to see our prayers answered for this beautiful boy and his devoted father.  "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

How Sweet He Is

Posted on Thu, 09/18/2014 - 23:19 by Rebakah Yang

I had the privilege of staying with precious Ahmad overnight at Wolfson Hospital. He had been transfered from the secondary ICU to the children’s ward, which was good news for Abu-Ahamd, the Shevet community, and the Wolfson medical team members. However, new challenges are arising concerning our little baby Ahmad; due to this prolong period of treatment process, Dr. Alona suggest our Shevet community also can take shifts relieving Abu-Ahmad by spending the night with Ahmad in the hospital. I was the first community member to be honored with this privilege.

When Ruth, Sophie and myself entered the Wolfson children ward, Sophie kindly kept Abu-Ahamd occupied with Ahmad.

Ruth and I then to covered some general guidelines for taking care of baby Ahmad. I was so grateful to get more information and some ideas concerning what to do and what not to do. My challenge began around 6 o’clock last evening after Ruth, Sophie and Abu-Ahmad left for the night. When I finished milk feeding, change baby Ahmad’s diaper, he was quite satisfied, and almost fall asleep on my shoulder. Then I thought I could bring him to his baby bed. As soon as his head touched his pillow, he sprung awake and began thrashing in a fit of tears. If I did not hold him correctly, the room would quickly fill with his loud cries.

This little game between us has been played few times when I finally surrendered to our precious Ahmad. I knew he must at least get some rest tonight, so I stopped bringing him to his bed. Thanks God for all the prayers support from Shevet community, as well as text messages last night. I soon found out in the meantime that holding baby Ahmad put him to sleep quite quickly in the end; praise the Lord! He even showed a little smile while he was dozing off to sleep; how sweet he is! The following morning, a nurse gave baby Ahmad a comfortable bed bath, and checked his vital signs again.

Hallelujah, in the end he had a sweet and sufficient sleep. His appetite was also very good, and his body was full of energy.

I want to thank God for giving me such special time with our baby Ahamd overnight together; it will indeed remain in my memory how great our God is. May our God’s name be glorifying through this experience forever and ever, amen.