Doaa's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Making Good Progress

Posted on Thu, 12/03/2015 - 21:19 by Erin Brown

Good news from Doaa! She has already been released from the ICU and is now happily recovering in the children’s ward. This is wonderful considering she just had surgery on Monday! She is physically doing well. When we arrived this morning she had two tubes for draining fluid from her chest. One tube was removed today with hopes to remove the second tomorrow. Overall her condition is very good.

Doaa was not her normal energetic self today, due to her recovery. We could tell she was quite tired. One way it showed was she did not want to have her picture taken! Every time we brought out a camera she would roll over and hide her face, which was very unlike our sweet photogenic Doaa. We’re sure she will be back to her normal fun self soon!

Her mother is in high spirits and enjoyed visiting with us. Doaa’s mother and Samar’s grandmother were able to see each other and talk. They will be good support for each other over the next weeks as their children are recovering from surgery.

Continue to pray for a good recovery for Doaa and strength for her mother. Thank you all for your faithful prayers and support!


Posted on Tue, 12/01/2015 - 20:58 by Annie Magnusson

I had the pleasure of seeing Doaa and her mother today as I visited the hospital. My first thought when I saw her is how different she looks. Her face is evenly pale, but her lips are nice and pink, especially in comparison to how blue they were before her surgery. Doaa was extubated today; at first to a non-rebreather oxygen mask, and later to a nasal cannula.

She is on a large dose of morphine so she was supposed to sleep most of the time, but she was crying and kicking her blanket off. Her nurse asked me if she is usually a calm child, and I told her that she is very lively. "That's what I thought," she said. So despite the drugs her personality is still very obvious. 

Doaa's mother was very worried and emotional as she watched over Doaa today. I cannot imagine what she is going through with losing a child just last week and now seeing Doaa with post-surgical tubes, medications, and pain. I think it was good for her to let some of that pain out with her tears. Please pray with me that she will allow herself some rest.

Sweet Doaa Has a New Heart

Posted on Mon, 11/30/2015 - 22:35 by Rebekah Yang

Early this morning Miriam, Ruth and I left for our sweet Doaa’s heart surgery at Wolfson hospital in Tel-Aviv. When we have arrived in the children’s ward we found out that she had just left for operation room. We rushed to the pre-operation room and saw cheerful, smiley, beautiful Doaa and her mum sitting there waiting. As soon as Doaa saw our faces, she was happily shouting “Oh, Awo” in her own words to welcome us.

After that we spent almost an hour there to pray with Doaa’s mum and also play with Doaa until she had to go inside for surgery.

Waiting was a big task for Doaa’s mum. We went to children’s playground to have some morning tea there. Doaa’s mum started reviewing all of the photos on her  mobile then my mobile and Miriam’s, too. She also had made two phone calls to Kurdistan, Northern Iraq to her home.

After she called, she felt more calm less anxious. I suggested her to lay on the floor for a short break. Around 11:30 am we all went downstairs outside the operation waiting room for a second phase of waiting. During this time we sang some Christian songs and continue praying and chatting.

Eventually, one of the surgeons called Doaa’s name and told us she is coming out now. By that time I looked and it was around 1:30pm. Wow! Praise the Lord! After 5 hours of waiting we saw our sweetheart Doaa. The moment Doaa’s mum saw Doaa come out, her tears were coming out just like today’s weather- raining. This is the tears of love I know; somehow I notice that my eyes were wet, too.

We waited outside the ICU while the medical team was settling down for Doaa. Shadyan’s mum also came to greet her and spent a few minutes to comfort her as well. When we went inside, a surgeon explained to Doaa’s mum that the operation was successful and they did the full heart repair for Doaa. Nothing more they could say at this stage, she will need to be closely observed by all different life monitors for a few days.

Doaa right now is intubated with ventilation and central lines to maintain her body’s needed functions as well as for medications. She is still under sedation and has a chest tube on her right side plus a Foley urine catheter.

Before I left Doaa’s mum, again I prayed for her to have the strength to stay inside of the ICU in order to take care of Doaa. I know all of us from Shevet are praising God  and praying for Doaa’s ongoing healing process and believe Doaa is in the good hands of God.

“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High. Amen! (Psalms 9:1-2)

Admitted for Surgery, Finally

Posted on Sun, 11/29/2015 - 18:32 by Miriam Svensson

After more than seven weeks of waiting, we have finally got a surgery date for Doaa. The big day will be tomorrow! I had the privilege to take Doaa and her mother to the hospital for admission today. 

Doaa is a very active and independent girl who does not like to be told what to do. As soon as we were called to the nurses’ room for assessments, she started protesting. She did not stop crying until it was completely over, despite everyone’s efforts to comfort and cheer her up. The nurse gave her candy, but she did not look at it until afterwards.

Back in her bed the tears quickly dried and she became her normal, cheerful self again. We had some lunch together and then I followed Doaa and her mother to the X-ray department. I stayed outside while they went into the X-ray room, and I was relieved that I didn't hear any crying through the door. 

Doaa's beautiful mother seemed calm and fearless, but I wonder what was going on in her mind. After her difficult experience last week, I can't imagine it is easy for her to think of her precious daughter's operation. Please join us in praying for her and Doaa, that they will feel secure and at ease in this situation. We know they are in the hands of our mighty and loving Father.

Privileged to care for Doaa's mother through crisis

Posted on Sun, 11/22/2015 - 23:20 by Agnes Bruna

Last night sweet Doaa’s mother was taken into hospital with premature labor. The first hospital our nurses Alexa and Rebekah took her to, does not have an NICU so she was referred to Hadassah Mount Scopus, where she gave birth to a very small baby girl just before midnight. She was only 24 weeks into her pregnancy, and the little girl weighed just 530 grams (1.2 pounds). Alexa and Rebekah then spent the night with her, comforting her and making sure she did not feel alone.

Today our nurse Ruth and I went to Hadassah hospital to see what was happening, both with mother and with the baby. We had a meeting with the head nurse and a social worker, who were very pleased to have Ruth there to translate. Doaa’s mother seemed to be doing well and readily agreed to come upstairs to see her little girl. There the doctor patiently explained first that the baby was extremely premature, very sick, and not expected to survive.

Once he was sure she understood, the social worker took her into the NICU where the baby was lying in an incubator, intubated and connected to various lines and tubes. Both Ruth and I spent some time with her there while Doaa’s mother watched her, took photos of her on her phone, tears streaming down her face. The doctors and nurses kept checking back, not just on the baby but also on the mother to see if she was coping and again, if she understood everything that was going on.

After a while Doaa’s mother asked to be taken back to her bed on the ward. Almost as soon after we got back there, the doctor called to say that he believed the baby was dying. Initially she refused to go back upstairs, but on the insistence of the social worker, Ruth convinced her to come. Then she spent some time holding her baby while she drew her last breaths.

The compassion and care from all medical staff we met, for both mother and baby shone through in their words and in their actions. They hugged the mother when she was crying, spent time explaining things again and again. Even the people at the office decided, after some hesitation, that they would only charge us Israeli rates. As explanation they said: well, you are doing your bit to make our world a better place, we better do something too to help.

Even though the doctors would have preferred keeping Doaa’s mother in hospital for another night (a high percentage of premature labor is caused by infections), they agreed she could come home to Prophets Street with us. She was very worried about Doaa being too long without her, and the reunion was amazing to watch. Tomorrow she is going back to the hospital for some final check-ups and so her little girl can be laid to rest here in Israel in a Muslim burial, according to her wishes.

We were able to pray with Doaa’s mother and her little girl several times today. She kept thanking us for our prayers and regularly referred to God’s care for her and her children.

Please pray for this family as they come to terms with this devastating event. We felt very privileged that we could spent time with her, providing the comfort, love, and care our Father in Heaven gives us so freely. 

Doaa's CT Scan

Posted on Mon, 11/16/2015 - 21:35 by Noa

Today, Doaa went into the hospital for a CT scan so that the doctors could get a better idea of her heart situation. It was a blessing because the doctors and nurses got Doaa ready and headed for the CT scan very soon after we arrived, which is not always the case.

Jesse and I went inside with Doaa for the CT scan, but they kicked us out. I’m suspecting it was because of my incessant picture taking.

On the upside, I got some good pictures. After the scan, Doaa had to go an hour without eating, so during that time, we got to play a little in her crib and hold hands while she rested.

After the hour, Doaa broke her fast with a banana, a cookie, and some orange juice.

Once she downed the food and drink, the doctor deemed her ready to go home. But we had to wait for the nurses to come and take the IV out. Meanwhile, we hung out and took some pictures.

On the ride home, both Doaa and I fell asleep. It was a very pleasant trip.

Doaa's Outing

Posted on Thu, 11/12/2015 - 17:57 by Erin Brown

Doaa’s day began quite early today with a trip to the hospital.  She was scheduled for a CT scan, but after we arrived, they decided to reschedule it.  So while waiting for the others to complete their hospital duties, Doaa had a wonderful time exploring the playground! 

She was in high spirits as always.  Her energy was incredible!  She is full of life and ready to tackle anything that’s thrown her way, like a day at the hospital playground.

She is still waiting for her surgery to be scheduled.  Meanwhile, she brings joy to each of our lives here at Shevet Achim.  She is a blessing to have here!

Back on Prophets Street

Posted on Mon, 10/26/2015 - 19:32 by Miriam Svensson

Doaa was kept at the hospital for observation over the weekend to make sure her fever wasn't caused by anything serious. As soon as we entered the children's ward today, it was confirmed that she was going to be discharged. The fever is gone, and there is no infection in her blood. It looks like an inflammation in her ear was the problem, possibly together with a slight virus infection. She will need to take antibiotics for five days, and if the fever returns, she will have to go back to the hospital. 

Doaa's mother seemed very happy to be able to go back with us. Before we left, we had lunch with the mothers of Baran and Lanya. Little Doaa took a spoon and was cheerfully digging in to the food as well.

After finishing the meal and some tea that Doaa's mother prepared for us, we all went home to Jerusalem again.

Please pray with us for this happy and brave little girl – that nothing more will stand in the way of her operation and that her heart soon will be healed.

Strong Characters

Posted on Thu, 10/22/2015 - 17:25 by Sarah Powell

Yesterday, Jesse and I took Doaa in to the hospital because she had a high fever. She had to spend a lot of time waiting and a lot of time getting different tests done. Throughout the day, I was surprised by Doaa's patience and especially by her trust for her mother. Even though she cried through most of the testing procedures, she never fought against the nurses or doctors while her mother held her. And immediately after the tests were done, she was not upset with anyone and returned to her joyful self very quickly.

She had to have blood tests, an X-ray, and an examination by an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) doctor.

In the end, they decided that she should stay over night for observation because she had some inflammation in her right ear and her blood tests came back with hints of a possible infection. When we visited her and her mother again today, they were doing well, and Doaa was still joyful and playful.

However, she was not discharged, as the hospital is still trying to determine what exactly caused her fever.

When we left her at the hospital last night, she was asking her mother to change her out of her hospital pajamas and put her in her normal clothes so that she could go back to the house with us. Despite not wanting to spend the night there though, Doaa has been very good at entertaining herself at the hospital during the day. She especially loves the playground area and enjoys bravely wandering off from her mother to explore whenever she can manage it.

Her mother, from whom Doaa must have gotten her strong character, has also been very patient. Since she speaks Kurdish and understands only a few words in Arabic, she does not have anyone at the hospital that she can really communicate clearly with. That does not stop her, though, from being friendly to the other patients around her or from trying to ask questions.

Please be praying for both Doaa and her mother. Until Doaa recovers fully from whatever was causing her fever, she will not be able to have her heart surgery.  

A Bittersweet Day

Posted on Mon, 10/12/2015 - 23:48 by Sophie

Today was the appointment day for our sweet girl Doaa. She is a very energetic girl, staying in the van was very hard for her. On the way to the hospital, she cried a lot. After the long waiting she was so bored so I brought her to the playground—she was so happy. She was running to the plastic house and standing inside peacefully. Looking like she was in a dream, just watching me and smiling. A few minutes later she realized it was all true and shouted out to me. Then we played hide and seek.

The blood test was the miserable for her. She could not move at all, so a few people held her body strongly. The tears were falling from her face and breaking my heart as well. 

Doaa's mother is pregnant, so she could not do PPT test, but Doaa did. On Wednesday she needs go back to the hospital and so the nurses can read the PPD. After all the tests, she had a long echo and x-ray. Although we had a very long day, God's new mercy is enough for us. On the way back home, both the mother and Doaa were so exhausted, they fell asleep deeply.

Please keep praying for this four-months-pregnant mother and two year-old girl (on the fifteenth of October)! May God bless them and keep them, and his face shine upon them!