Doaa's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Waiting for Miracles

Posted on Sun, 12/27/2015 - 22:15 by Rebekah Yang

Miriam and I went to Wolfson hospital in order to visit our precious Doaa and her mum in ICU. We saw Doaa’s mum outside the ICU when we arrived, and immediately Doaa’s mum greeting us with three kisses on both cheeks. She looked emotionally calm and seems like she has more strength than when I saw her the previous day. All of us sat down to drink some juice and chatted for a few minutes. Then we entered the ICU to check on our beloved kid, Doaa. Praise God for yesterday's successful heart surgery and that the ECMO machine could be removed. Now Doaa is still intubated and is on the ventilation machine. I noticed that Doaa’s head has the monitor to detect Doaa’s brain activity. After the doctors finished their run of all the beds, I had the opportunity to talk with a senior doctor about Doaa’s current situation.

According to her, Doaa does not have any sedation medicine and has not had any movement from her limbs so far. And her brain activity is quite low at the moment. Both of these are signs of some brain damage for sure, but it can not really be evaluated how serious her brain has been damage or bleeding yet. I told the doctor on behalf of our Shevet family that we want to thank her and her medical team, who are standing by our side to save Doaa by every possible means. Above all, we want to thank our God for sparing Doaa’s life, and we always pray for her – and the ICU medical team as well.

The doctor nodded her head and said, “Yes! You should continue to pray for her to wake up by herself; that’s what we are hoping for. However, there is also a chance that she won’t wake up at all.”

Later on, Doaa’s primary nurse started to clean Doaa’s whole body and also change her bed sheet. I was watching how gently she was doing it, and I praised God for this nurse's good care for Doaa.

She even apologized that she has to spend quite some time to do so. As our visit time came to an end, I just wanted to thank God for all the good doctors and nurses He provides for Doaa.

Dear God, again I thank you for preserving our sweet Doaa’s life. Please continue to heal her by using your mighty healing power; we believe nothing is too difficult for YOU. Although human beings may have limitations, YOU don’t.

Let us continue to lift up our hands to pray, pray, and pray more to our God to bring His miracle of new life into our Doaa’s life. Amen!


Posted on Sat, 12/26/2015 - 21:36 by Becca Powell

Today began with much intercession and prayer for little Doaa, as we did not know what to expect as we entered the ICU. At 8 am, Doaa was taken in for surgery. It was my privilege to sit with her mother, read scripture over her, and sing songs of praise as we watched the hours pass with hopeful hearts. Doaa's mother had three visitors arrive to help distract her from her anxious heart. They brought each of us coffee and pastries, as well as a homemade Kurdish dish, which we shared together later in the evening. 

After seven and a half hours, we received great news! Both of Doaa's pulmonary arteries were successfully dilated, and her damaged valve was repaired. Not only was the surgery successful, but she was also no longer in need of the ECMO machine. We took a moment to thank God for His goodness – another victory in Jesus!  However, it is too soon for us to know if there has been any brain damage. Please continue to pray to the Father for little Doaa's life; may God bring complete healing to her heart and mind and, above all, draw this family closer to Himself.

We received an encouraging reply from some prayer partners after they received the update: "We feel that Jesus loves her very much and she has a mission in the world...she is a very important testimony for her family and her nation."


Posted on Fri, 12/25/2015 - 23:23 by Ruth Zellweger

Today we received heavy news regarding our precious Doaa. She is still in the ICU and on the ECMO. Yesterday, the doctors were hopeful that she might not have any brain damage. However, today they think that it is very likely she does have brain damage, as they do not see her move or showing any reflexes even though she doesn't receive any sedation. They tried to take her off the ECMO machine a few times, but her heart is not able to function correctly. In the echo, they saw that the stent that was put in during the catheterization needs to be adjusted in the left pulmonary artery and that her right pulmonary artery actually also needs to be dilated. Therefore, they hope to take her into surgery tomorrow morning (Shabbat), which will be risky, but it is her only chance to be taken off the ECMO. However, even if this surgery is successful, they cannot say much about her neurological status. Only when she is off the ECMO can they do all the necessary neurological tests. 

In our human wisdom and understanding, the battle for Doaa's life is prone to be lost. But with God, nothing is impossible! There are many examples in His word where people were healed because they believed in Him. We ask you today to intercede with us for Doaa's life and for complete healing and restoration of her heart, lungs, and any neurological damage. He is able to do it. Please pray also with and on behalf of Doaa's mother. During my time spent with her this afternoon, she asked me several time to make sure that our friends all over the world would pray for her daughter. And I assured her that they would be.  It is so special to know that 'doaa' actually means 'prayer!' Thank you for praying with us.

Pray, Pray, and Pray More

Posted on Thu, 12/24/2015 - 23:22 by Rebakah Yang

The first glance I saw of our dear, sweet Doaa when I enter into the ICU left me almost heart- broken. She was lying on her bed with all sorts of different life saving monitors and the ECMO machine on. When Doaa’s mum saw me she began crying and mumbling Doaa’s name. Words could not express the emotions of this moment. I could only hug and cry with her. After some time later, an ICU senior Dr. came over to check Doaa’s condition. He kindly explained to me the next few days they will be keeping their eyes closely on Doaa’s brain to prevent and catch a bleed. It will be priority in dealing with Doaa’s treatment. Due to this concern, the ECMO machine technicianuses the machine to keep Doaa’s body temperature below 34.5。C.

I spent a few hours singing and praying with Doaa’s mum. She was praying with tears most time when she was in ICU. In between, she had about an hour to take a short nap.     

Right now, Doaa is still in very critical condition. However, both the doctor and ECMO technician seem optimistic her condition can improve. At one point they even told me her blood gas results that came back were good, especially compared with her previous data.

Dear God, on this peaceful Christmas Eve I thank you for preserving our Doaa’s life. Please continue to heal her whole being one step at a time. All I wish for my Christmas is ”Pray , pray and pray more for our dear and sweet Doaa”. Thank you for lifting up your hands to pray with us.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)   



Posted on Wed, 12/23/2015 - 23:10 by Miriam Svensson

Coert and I went to Wolfson hospital today for Doaa's heart catheterization. We found her and her mother waiting in the children's ward. Doaa was happy and cheerful as always. She did not at all seem to be affected by the fact that she had not eaten any breakfast. We spent some time together playing and taking pictures.

I went out of the room for a short while to check on another child, and when I came back, Doaa and her mother had just left. As I had not been to the cath lab before, it took me some searching to locate them. But I found them in the preparation room, waiting to go in. Doaa was still sweet and smiling, and her mother was smiling as well.

When Doaa had gone into the cath lab, I sat with her mother outside. Now she showed her worries more. She looked at the door all the time, and wanted me to ask everyone that came out about Doaa. After just over two hours, a doctor came and told us that the procedure was almost finished. Everything had gone well; they had dilated the pulmonary artery and put in a stent. Doaa's mother was so happy and relieved that she hugged and kissed me. 

Doaa was expected to come out of the lab about ten minutes after that. When we had waited more than double that time, we went to the reception desk to ask where she was. The nurse went in to check and came out with one of the doctors. He explained to the mother in Arabic that Doaa's heart had collapsed just as they were about to take her out of the cath lab. She was in a very serious condition, and the staff in the lab were working hard to stabilize her.

This was of course difficult news for Doaa's mother. She has been through so much this last month. My few Kurdish words were not any help for me to comfort her and tell her how much I felt for her. I just sat beside her as we waited for more news. I was so grateful to the Lord for being there with us and for the community in Jerusalem that I knew were praying for us.

Later, when they had taken Doaa to the ICU, the doctor told us that she was now stable with the help of an ECMO-machine, which was supporting her circulation. She is in a severe situation though, so we ask you all to pray! May our loving Father lay His hands upon our beloved Doaa to sustain her life and heal her. May He also come with peace to her heartbroken mother.

Doaa's Echo

Posted on Mon, 12/21/2015 - 21:59 by Maureen Grimshaw

Dooa had her second echo at the hospital today after discharge from the hospital on the 16th of December. The doctors will do a heart catheterization on Wednesday for possible dilatation of the pulmonary arteries.

Please join us in praying for Doaa and her mother during their stay at Wolfson tomorrow in preparation for the cath and for the procedure to be successful on Wednesday. God willing, the cath should go well without complications, which will mean after the follow-up echo next Monday Dooa may be able to go home to Kurdistan. 

An Early Catch (Doaa’s Pneumonia)

Posted on Wed, 12/16/2015 - 21:50 by Rebekah Yang

Last night Alexa came to ask me to go over to the Finnish school as her assistant in order to check our sweet Doaa’s condition. When I saw Doaa, she was laying on her bed mumbling because of her discomfort. Doaa had a high body temperature of 39.6。C and her face was so red too. After we got all the necessary information regarding Doaa, Alexa called Wolfson hospital. The doctor suggested we bring Doaa in to be checked on again. Doaa had blood drawn for a laboratory work-up, as well as a chest- x-ray. Around midnight we learned she was admitted because she was diagnosed with pneumonia. Doaa had to stay in the hospital for intervention including antibiotic treatment.

Today Annie, Coert, and I went to Wolfson to visit Doaa again. Doaa looked as cheerful as before; however, she showed a lot less strength.

After both Doaa and her mum finished their lunch, a children’s ward nurse informed me Doaa can be discharged to come back with us to Jerusalem with oral antibiotic treatment and close observation.

We’re so thankful we brought Doaa to the hospital at a very early stage of her lung infection. We have much gratitude to all the medical team members who helped us to treat our sweet Doaa. Above all, we want to thank God for his protection of Doaa’s life.

Please continue to lift up Doaa and her mum in your prayers. May our Father’s healing power work on Doaa day by day that soon we will able to see our vibrant and energetic little girl again. Amen!!

What's The Scoop?

Posted on Mon, 12/14/2015 - 18:07 by Alexa Bigl

We were all excited for Doaa's hospital visit today. She receive an outpatient echo, had blood drawn, and a throat swab was taken. Doaa had been having spikes in her temperature the past 24 hours and we were concerned she may have an infection. This morning she seemed much better, but we were still anxious to know she was alright. With some of the other children fighting seasonal illnesses, we were praying Doaa would not have to suffer through the same. We praise God Doaa's blood tests came back clean indicating there is no bacterial or viral infection! The throat swab will take a few days for the lab to process the results, but since everything else is a clean bill of health Doaa has returned with us to Jerusalem. Doaa's mom was worried the other children's illnesses would affect Doaa's recovery process so it was very reassuring to her when we were able to tell her Doaa is healthy!

Doaa's echo also had good results. The fluid around her heart has decreased. While there still remains a small amount, the doctors are happy with the progress. Her pulmonary artery, the blood vessel we told you about previously needing to grow and dilate, remains the same size. The doctors were not concerned, however. It is too early to expect any change yet. We will continue to pray and fully trust God in His healing plans for Doaa.

She was very 'helpful' during the echo by pushing buttons adjusting the height of her bed and trying to use the doctor's stethoscope.

When we were getting ready to leave the hospital Doaa started crying and trying to run back to her friends at the children's ward. She has befriended our Iraqi child Samar, Gazan Judy, and a SACH child named Jasmine. It was fun seeing all the kids playing together today and to know Doaa had a great day.

Back To Jerusalem

Posted on Wed, 12/09/2015 - 21:20 by Annie Magnusson

At the hospital today Doaa received another echo; we are praying this will be her second to last one! The result of her echo was good, but she still has some fluid around her heart. She was allowed to come back with us to Jerusalem, and she will receive another echo on Monday (the one we are praying to be her final).

Because we are in the week of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday of lights, many different fun things happened at the hospital. There were two clowns, a person dressed as Elsa from Frozen, and two different Jewish families were distributing toys and sweets to the kids. Doaa enjoyed most of it a lot, although she was scared of the person dressed as Elsa. She also had fun with one of the doctors who let her play with her stethoscope, as you can see.

We are very pleased and thankful to our Heavenly Father to have sweet Doaa and her mom back with us.

Feeling Back to Normal

Posted on Tue, 12/08/2015 - 19:27 by Miriam Svensson

When I came to the children’s ward today I could see Doaa was feeling better than last time I was there. She was a bit tired but was looking well and even smiled a little. 

Doaa's mother was concerned because she had not wanted to eat. She talked to the doctors about it when they came in to see Doaa, but they didn't seem to think it was anything to worry about. Doaa is recovering well. Both of her chest tubes are out now, the fever she had a couple of days ago is gone, and everything looks good. 

During the day Doaa showed more and more of the personality she had before the surgery, smiling and playful. At lunch her appetite was better, and after gaining some energy she enjoyed playing with us. She also tried to run away to go exploring the ward. This is the Doaa we are used to seeing. Praise the Lord she is getting better every day!