Duaa's Heart Surgery


An Unexpected Visit in Amman

Posted on Sun, 05/03/2015 - 22:15 by Agnes Bruna

Today saw an unexpected visit with Duaa in Amman. Ryan, our co-worker in Jordan, was contacted by her father, who told him that Duaa showed signs of an infection. Ryan invited them to come to Jordan University Hospital to be checked out by the cardiologist there. The doctor did an echo and told us the good news is that Duaa's heart is healing well and everything in connection with her heart surgery is fine. The not so good news was that she has an infection in the incision on her chest, in front of her sternum, which led to an abscess.

Duaa did really well during the echo and very clearly has a good relationship with her father. One of the doctors in the pediatric cardiology department very kindly found us a general surgeon who would have a look at her to decide what the best course of action was. While waiting to see this doctor (and for Ryan to sort some paperwork), Duaa occupied herself with her favorite pastime: taking selfies!


Once we saw the surgeon, she was not so happy.

He checked out the abscess and decided that, because she is quite young and because she gets so upset, the best thing would be to admit her and do the drainage procedure under anesthesia. Depending on what they find, she will also need a course of antibiotic injections, but we think that it might be possible for her to have this done where she lives rather than in Amman.

All in all, it was a good day. I am very grateful that she was seen so quickly and that everyone there was so friendly and helpful. Please pray for Duaa tomorrow, when she is coming back with her mother for the procedure. God clearly has His hand on this lovely young girl and her family. Please also pray blessings on the doctors who are so willing to help. And pray for favor with the hospital finance department so that all this will be to God’s glory.

Farewell Duaa!

Posted on Sun, 04/26/2015 - 22:07 by Judith Schmidt

It took two surgeries and six months in Israel to repair Duaa’s Tetralogy of Fallot heart defect.  Now, by God’s hand, she is healed.

Duaa is a lively, curious, strong and not always easy little character. For instance, she never showed fear, but instead immediately jumped into someone’s arms, commanding them what to do. We discovered Duaa became most challenging when she needed love. We found she wants attention and more importantly, she wants love.

She enjoyed action and adventure and still managed to retain the heart of a little princess. She liked to have her face painted and gravitated towards hair clips and wristbands.  As often as she would make us shake our heads or be exhausted, she would make us laugh. 

Her mother was a more quiet person, yet full of humor.  She is a wonderful cook and amazed us with lots of yummy lunches. 

Yet, Duaa’s time in Israel was often difficult, it was like a roller coaster ride, joyous in one second and discouraging in the next. Some of this was because Duaa and her mom waited two months until her surgery, after it had been scheduled and cancelled several times.  As we waited with them, we tried to keep their spirits up.

All thanks to God, the surgery was scheduled a last time and was successful!

After the surgery, she regained her physical strength quickly. And yet her powerful character did not come back for a time. We missed her sparkling eyes for several weeks. It was wonderful to see the twinkle eventually return.

Her mom became discouraged as Duaa developed a post surgery fever and was admitted to the hospital. In God’s mercy she soon returned to the Shevet center. 

I have the feeling that after the long waiting time and seeing how we would love Duaa unconditionally she did not feel the need to demand attention as before. She would simply sneak onto your lap to snuggle or raise her arms with eyes asking to pull her up. Another example of this is when we would be cleaning; she would come, pointing at herself saying "Ana" (which means ‘I’ in Arabic).  So we would show her what to do and praise her for her help.

At all times she would have a great affection for music and worship. She could spend hours singing with us. Now she can sing certain songs in Arabic, Hebrew, English and even Mandarin! She would constantly hum the song "Hallelujah et Adonai, Kol Goyim", which is Psalm 117, "Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord!"

This is my wish for her and her mother as they go home to their families, that they will never forget the steadfast love of God towards them. And that they would remember the songs as those words of truth and grace ring in their hearts. May they always remember the great love God has towards the two of them. And that His praise will ever be on Duaa's lips.


Tears and Laughter

Posted on Mon, 04/20/2015 - 21:16 by Ruth Zellweger

Our Shevet community has been able to observe a beautiful transformation that took place in both Duaa and her mother. When they first came, Duaa was very wild and always afraid of not receiving enough attention. It took several months for her to understand that she is loved by all of us. Especially in the last week, we realized how much Duaa has changed; she is much calmer and affectionate in a very sweet way. Over the course of their stay with us, we also got to know the fun loving and creative personality of her mother, which took a while to show. She has been blessing us with amazing meals, and loves to initiate jokes and conversations that usually end with much laughter.

Today, Konrad and I had the honor to accompany mother and daughter to what was supposed to be Duaa's final echo. When it was her turn for the echo, Duaa started whimpering and did not stop to cry until the echo was done. However, Dr. Hanita was able to finish the exam and then declared that Duaa's heart looks well and that she is discharged. A very happy mother left the echo room a short time later. But before we could enjoy the rest of the day, a small suture had to be removed on Duaa's chest, which she tried to fight very hard. In the end, her tears ceased and she had lunch one last time at the hospital. Afterwards, we went together with Ilham, and her mother, and Hemn and his father to the nearby beach to celebrate the beautiful echoes they all had today.

Duaa loved the water and could not get enough. She grabbed my hands and walked into the water, a fearless little girl. I was reminded of her time with us two years ago, when we had also visited the beach. And now, two years later, and with a complete healed heart, we celebrated again. I am so thankful for this precious little girl and her mother. God has done a beautiful work in their lives and hearts. To Him be the glory!


Posted on Mon, 04/13/2015 - 22:09 by Rebakah Yang

When we arrived at Wolfson's echo room around 11:30 this morning, I saw quite a few kids and families were there, waiting patiently. I was a bit anxious about the time arrangement. However, only few minutes later, a doctor was already calling Duaa to prepare her for her echo.

I was amazed by Duaa’s reaction this time. She was happy and cooperative for us during the echo, quietly submitting herself to what needed to be done and watching cartoons for the whole process of the echo.

After the echo, the doctor told me the result was good and that Duaa just needs to continue the same medicines until next Monday, which is when she should have her final echo. After I explained to Duaa’s mum what the doctor said, she was very upset and angry. It’s very hard for her to accept that they have to wait longer, and I could do nothing except hold her shoulder and let her pour out all of her emotions.

Later in the day, we were able to spend some short but sweet time at the hospital food court to cheer both Duaa and Ilham’s mum by enjoying lovely ice cream and playing airplane pilots.

On our way back to Jerusalem, my heart was praying for Duaa and her mum and their slightly lengthened stay in Israel. I prayed from the Psalm 62:5-6: “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”  

Nearing the Finish

Posted on Wed, 04/08/2015 - 21:46 by Camilla Madsen

Today, Rebekah, Konrad, and I took Duaa and her mother to Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv for an echo. The trip to the hospital was quiet, with a sleeping Duaa in the backseat. When we arrived at the hospital, we went into the children's ward. Normally, we need to go to the echo department for the echoes, but today, Duaa was going to have the echo in the children's ward because of the echo department being closed for Passover.

Duaa was happy and smiling when we arrived, but the moment we walked into the examination room, she began crying very loudly and unhappily. Her mood changed so quickly, and she got very nervous and afraid of the doctors. We tried to make her feel safe and to calm her down during the echo, but she was very suspicious of the new doctor.

Despite Duaa's suspicions, though, we succeeded in making her laugh during the echo.


The echo showed progress, and they reduced Duaa's medicine. But because of the holiday, Dr. Alona was not at the hospital today. This means that Duaa has to go back to the hospital next Monday to, hopefully, have her last echo.

Besides the echo, Duaa got her finger nail examined. She has an infection in her nail, and we got some cream she needs to put on it three times a day. It was a good day in the hospital. After lunch, Duaa and her mother enjoyed the good weather on the hospital's playground while we were waiting for other things to finish up.


Join us in praying for patience to Duaa and her mother in their last days in Israel.

Back in Jerusalem

Posted on Sun, 04/05/2015 - 20:39 by Brian Mace

Late this afternoon, I was asked to collect Duaa, who had been discharged from Wolfson Hospital. When I first found Duaa, she was sweetly asleep. It seemed so hard for her to have to be awakened. The return drive was a challenge of traffic holdups and blocked roads, but we made it with directions from Jesus: praise Him! She was very good on the long and deviating journey; bless her. 

Miraculously, we arrived at Shevet exactly at the same time that Hiba's mother and relatives were leaving, so Duaa's mum was able to wave her sympathy and farewell. 

Duaa Admitted Again

Posted on Thu, 04/02/2015 - 22:05 by Rebakah Yang

Last night Duaa did not feel well and was laying down on ground refusing to eat anything. After taking her BT, we found out she had fever. So Konrad and I took her and her mum back to Wolfson hospital that evening.

Please join us in prayer for Duaa. We pray she will recover soon and that our Lord’s healing hand will touch her in the name of Jesus Christ! AMEN!

Do Not Fear

Posted on Mon, 03/30/2015 - 22:36 by Co-authored

From Julia Binder and Konrad Wiedmer:

We went today with Duaa to the hospital to see how her heart is functioning after her surgery two and a half weeks ago. While we were waiting for her echo, she enjoyed playing in the playroom with Inas, and the two of them had a small tea party.

Unfortunately, her merry mood changed very quick after entering the echo room. Suddenly, she started crying and screaming because she was so scared of the procedure. The doctors tried to calm her down without any success. Kristina described it as a spiritual and physical battle, and in the end, Duaa needed medicine that would make her body relax. After she calmed down, they could continue her echo, which had good results. Next week she will, God willing, have her final echo.

Later on, Duaa – still a little bit wobbly on her legs – was playing on the playground and having fun scootering as well as playing with the stethoscope.

Praise God she is doing well so soon after the surgery. However, we should support her in praying that God takes away her fear of medical examinations and gives her peace.

Psalm 118:6: “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Isaiah 41:13: “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, 'Do not fear; I will help you.'”

Duaa Progressing

Posted on Thu, 03/26/2015 - 20:45 by Jesse Tilman

Duaa got her stitches removed today and a blood test performed as well. Dr. Alona then brought a portable echocardiagram machine to perform an exam on Duaa. She protested loudly, of course, and we were all relieved when she finished. None of her medications were changed, and they are currently planning to have her back for two more echos. She will have one per week before being cleared to return home.

While waiting, we spent some time playing in the yard and finding books in the children's activity room. It was a beautiful and warm day outside. Duaa's mother got reacquainted with some friends from Gaza, and we ate a sumptuous feast together. Duaa's energy is coming back quickly as she recovers from surgery. After getting some documents, we also stopped by the sea for a photo in the sunshine. Thank God for His grace for all of us!

Our Sunshine is Back

Posted on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 21:26 by Miri Fisher

Nearly two weeks after Duaa's heart surgery, she is finally back at Shevet! Today Kristina and I went to the hospital with several things in mind - among them, seeing if Duaa and Inas (who was just being observed over the weekend) were ready to leave the hospital. Duaa was sleepy when we got there late this morning, but she was out of bed and active.

Kristina entertained her with a hand puppet while we waited for her turn to take an echo. She squirmed and cried a little as the echo progressed, clearly uncomfortable, but that was quickly forgotten when we were all informed by Dr. Alona that Duaa was ready to come back to our Shevet home! Praise God. 

Duaa was tired and clingy and desperately wanted to sit by her mother in the full car on the way back, so all eight people (and baggage) eventually rearranged to make a way! It was "hafla hafla" (party party) in the car on the way back, and we all enjoyed a special snack of popcorn that Inas' mother had thoughtfully brought along. 

Our Duaa is finally back, and we are so thankful to have her sheepish smile and vibrant personality filling our rooms again! Duaa will need another heart echo and blood check this Thursday to see how she is improving.