Fatima 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Fun and Fearful, Fatima'sFirst Hospital Day

Posted on Mon, 03/28/2011 - 13:34 by Donna_West
March 28, 2011


Fatima is one spunky little five-year-old. Although she appears to be a bit small for her age, she already has her own style and dance moves. She enjoys blowing bubbles with our German volunteer Andres, and creative projects at the hospital with Loni from San Diego. Click the video to see the bubble blowing scene in the waiting room.

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The only thing that seems to bring her to a sudden halt is the fear of being touched by a doctor or nurse. The very act of being placed on the exam table started the tears and screams as though she was being tortured. As is common with children, fear of what may hurt exceeds anything actually being done.

Today all the preliminary tests and blood work were done, as well as the PPD tuberculosis test for mother and child. Fatima will return to the hospital on Thursday to complete her preliminary appointments.

Fatima Brightens IsraelWith Her Arrival

Posted on Sun, 03/27/2011 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles


Joyful and active Fatima and her mother traveled with us from Jordan to Israel today. Fatima turns six on April 13 but is very petite for her age, no doubt linked to her combination of heart defects called Tetralogy of Fallot.

As often happens there was a battle of the wills as to whether Fatima would sit in a car seat. She and her mother won the first round in Jordan, where car seat laws are less strict.

But I'm thankful to report that we won round two, once in Israel., after a half hour of tears and sniffles. We have to pray for guidance in these situations, as some children with Fatima's condition could go into a life-threatening cyanotic spell if they cry too hard.

As it was Fatima was full of energy as we traveled today, as the video below shows while in the border crossing terminal:

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After a while Fatima's mother had me feel Fatima's heartbeat, hammering away at her chest, and we put the ball away as discreetly as possible.

The sun was setting as we waited on the Israeli side of the Jordan River crossing, and our German coworker Andreas helped keep Fatima warm until it was time to drive the last two hours to the Shevet Achim center in Jerusalem, where a warm greeting and a warm meal was waiting.

Tomorrow morning we'll have Fatima at the hospital for first exams in preparation for open-heart surgery.