Baran's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq


Posted on Tue, 08/18/2015 - 22:40 by Alexa Bigl

This morning Baran was reintubated and the ventilator machine is breathing for him again. The doctors and medical team were concerned both with Baran’s difficulty of breathing and the results of his chest x-ray. The x-ray showed his left lung continues to struggle and that it has fluid around it.  

The cardiology team following Baran and the medical team following him about his lungs are working very closely together on the best course of action. Baran’s heart is located higher and further back than most hearts. Due to this positioning, the usual treatment to drain the fluid around Baran’s lung poses an increased risk  Tapping into the area of his chest to drain the fluid could puncture Baran’s heart. The teams are currently debating if a catheterization should be performed tomorrow in order to get a better visualization of the fluid around the lung and the exact location of Baran’s heart.

Baran's mother was seemingly depressed today as Baran moved around fighting against the ventilator before the nurses sedated him. She left the ICU crying. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be for her. To have so many doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals always working on and talking about your baby while not understanding anything they say must be very scary. Even when Shevet staff are able to get information, it is often conflicting from previous information and/or incomplete. Today, one of the cardiologists was able to spend quite some time talking with Baran's mother about Baran’s situation and answering questions while our brother Suhail translated. This was very helpful and I could see some of the stress being lifted off of her as the conversation came to a close. Thank you for praying with us for Baran. We praise God for all He has done and continue to beseech Him for the healing of this child.    

Baran Extubated

Posted on Mon, 08/17/2015 - 23:27 by Madison Fry

Amidst the commotion of our family;s five echoes, Baran was extubated! The ICU nurses reported to us that his oxygen levels were up to 99/100. This is excellent considering the lack of progress and medical plateau Baran was in just two days ago. Mindful of our hopes, the nurses were sure to explain to us this procedure was a temporary fix, and they just wanted to see if his oxygen levels would hold steady. As they extubated him at 11:30am they told us “He might get tired and we’ll have to put it back in”. After praying all day, we checked back in on Baran after lunch at 2:30pm and praise to God his oxygen levels were exactly the same 99/100.

The only change in his stats was a slight drop in his heart rate from 118 to 115, But this is a normal result of the procedure. The mother is still hopeful and full of joy. She is very grateful to be here in Israel and exclaimed to us this afternoon “Yanni (I know) I love it here in Israel! I love you all!” Praise God that through all of this stress, fear, and doubt her heart rests in love. Despite a challenging language barrier, she is determined to explain the love and joy she feels here amongst us, mere foreigners to her in everyway.

"By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35


Being able to witness the healing power of our Lord here in Baran’s life is an incredible gift. He is underweight, underdeveloped, undernourished, and living with a debilitating disease (DiGeorge Syndrome). His case was critical four months ago, and by God's mercy Baran held onto life and fought through two major surgeries only days apart. God has proven Himself over and over again as our great provider. Today He was our Great Physician. May we pray that God forgives our sin, and looks down upon little Baran with grace, love, and mercy. For above all, we give glory to God.




"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:6


Baran's Update

Posted on Fri, 08/14/2015 - 12:27 by Rebekah Yang

Yesterday we were able to visit Baran in ICU. Praise God, our little friend has started to move a little bit.

However, I also found out that Baran has a bit of swelling in his left cheek. Baran’s mum was quite concerned about that and wanted me to ask what was the cause of this. At that moment, Dr. Tamir was there, checking all the children as well. I got the opportunity to ask him on behalf of Baran’s mum.

Dr. Tamir kindly explained Baran’s current condition to us again. The puffing was due to the fact that his left lung is not working properly yet, causing fluid buildup in some of his body tissue. The ICU doctor has already added more medicine to treat the problem, though. Hopefully, within one or two days, he will not have any more problems with this. Please continue to lift up our little Baran and his mum. Pray that Baran will gain his health day by day.

Pray that Baran’s mum has strength to take care of Baran and that she would have peace to trust for a miracle.

“My son pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to a man’s whole body."

Proverbs 4:20-22 

Step by Step

Posted on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 23:12 by Rebekah Yang

Since we had four children for echoes today, we spent the whole morning in the outside corridor waiting for their exams. After lunch, all the families got a chance to visit Baran in the ICU.

When Alexa and I entered the ICU, we found out such good news that both of his chest tubes were removed this morning, praise God for another big step of healing for Baran.


Later on, we got the pportunity to speak to Dr. Cohen and try to learn more about Baran’s condition. He says Baran’s current situation is stable and may improve step by step. He couldn’t say when Baran will be extubated but he hopes that it will be soon. Although he couldn’t promise a time, we felt such encouragement by his sincerity and care for Baran. We thank God for the great medical team who are helping Baran fight for his life. Above all, thank you, Lord, for continued healing in Baran’s life. May Your name be glorified through the healing process of Baran. Amen!

Another New Day

Posted on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 00:15 by Rebekah Yang

Before we left to visit the hospital Sunday morning, we again got together as one big Shevet family and prayed for our two little babies Yousif and Baran. We went to Tel Aviv and brought all the blessings to both of them as well as their mums.

As we entered the door of hospital, I saw Baran's mother sitting outside of the ICU looking very distressed and anxious.

After greetings, she told me the ICU nurse has asked her to get out of the ICU for some reason.

Right away I went inside and found the nurse taking care of Baran, starting to change Baran’s dressings and clean him up.

When I saw how the primary nurse was working such so tender and care towards Baran, my heart was overwhelmed and rejoice for how God has arranged this wonderful nurse who cares so much for him.

Baran has not yet reached the point where he can be extubated, and still has a chest tube on his right side. However, his vitals in general are good, and he has no fever. We are thankful to God for allowing him to pass these small milestones. Please continue to lift Baran in prayer, that God's healing hands work towards saving our dearest Baran’s life.

“Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord” ( Psalms 31:21).

God Answers Prayers

Posted on Thu, 08/06/2015 - 06:28 by Alexa Bigl

Baran’s surgery, despite being a very risky one, was a complete repair. His weak left ventricle was the main concern related to his immediate survival after surgery, but this was not the only concern. Baran had Truncus Arteriosus, a four-leaflet valve, pulmonary hypertension, and weak contraction force of the left ventricle. Truncus Arteriosus is when the aorta (vessel pumping oxygenated blood to the body) and pulmonary arteries (vessels pumping unoxygenated blood to the lungs) begin as the same vessel. The valve should have three leaflets to keep from allowing the blood back into the ventricles once pumped out into the vessel. Since Baran’s valve had four leaflets, this was also corrected during surgery.  

With a high chance (40-50%) that Baran would not survive surgery, our praises were beyond joyful this evening. God is faithful and He answered our many fervent prayers for this beautiful child to make it through surgery. Baran is still in serious condition in the ICU at Wolfson and needs our continued prayers. He has a long way to go to be heading towards recovery. We are so thankful we serve an amazing God who is Healer and Comforter.  

Baran’s mother was very patient today and her strength was inspiring. She was finally able to relieve some of her emotions as she cried after Baran was safely transferred to the ICU. After Radhwan’s mother prayed with her those tears were quickly swallowed up in gratitude for the medical staff at the hospital. When the lead surgeon walked out of the ICU, she rushed up to him thanking him again and again and kissed him on the shoulder. She also went down to the market area and bought a beautiful cake for the staff to share.  

Thank you for joining us in following Baran’s story here in Israel and praying for him and his mother.      

Fragile Baran

Posted on Sun, 08/02/2015 - 21:43 by Rebekah Yang

Over the weekend, we learned that our little Baran, who was struggling with low oxygen levels, had been transferred to ICU for further treatment.

Around 7:30 this morning, I saw Baran’s mum crying and shouting her son's name outside of ICU. I had to quickly embrace her to comfort her and, in the meantime, tried to get any information on Baran ASAP. When I entered the ICU, I found a group of ICU nurses and a doctor had already begun an emergency procedure to rescue Baran’s life by intubating him so that he would have enough oxygen to breathe.

Half an hour later, Dr. Tamir came out from ICU to explain what had happened to Baran. Baran has a fever, and his lungs are not functioning as well as before to get enough oxygen to supply his whole body. That’s why the medical team had to intubate him.

After a short and quick prayer for Baran, his mum felt a bit calmer and was able to lay on the side sofa for a bit of rest.

Baran is currently in poor condition, using an oxygen monitoring machine. However, so far, he is still stable, thank God. Due to his tiny and fragile state, though, his condition could change for the worse at any moment.

None of us really know what the next minute will bring to Baran. The only one who knows is our Lord Jesus. Please do lift up your hands and join our prayers to bless our little Baran. May our merciful God continue to heal Baran's physical sickness and spare his life to the glory of His holy name.  

Baran Arrives to Israel

Posted on Sun, 07/26/2015 - 14:21 by Alexa Bigl

Wednesday night, Baran and his mom arrived at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport. After a safe drive back to Shevet, they were ready for some sleep. Rest and recovery time was short for them as the following morning called for an 8:30am departure to Wolfson Medical Center.  

Once we arrived to the children’s ward, Baran was quickly taken back for his initial assessment. He was a bit unhappy with the staff as they tried multiples times to draw blood. Praise to God they were successful in the end. We then headed up for an echocardiogram and PPD test (to check for infection of or exposure to tuberculosis).   

Baran’s echo showed a decreased contraction force of his heart. Between this and his very low weight and overall small size, the doctors are concerned his current state would not agree with surgery. We are prayerful that Baran will gain weight in the near future and this weight gain will increase the contraction force of his heart.  

To help him gain weight, Baran has been admitted to the children’s ward with a nasogastric feeding tube. Formula can now be put directly into his stomach via this tube. Since Baran does not eat very much on his own, we are hopeful this will work to increase his weight and size.  

Baran’s mom is very sweet and cried as Baran fussed while getting used to the feel of the feeding tube. She takes great encouragement in having others with her and was very grateful when we were able to move her to be next to Yousef and his mother.  

Please join us in praying for Baran’s weight to increase, his contraction force to increase, an increased ability to be soothed when upset, his mother's maintained strength as she adjusts to staying at the hospital, and that God’s peace will be with them both.