Gaza Children's Heart Surgery


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Gaza Children
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Update: Sunday, 25th March

Posted on Sun, 03/25/2018 - 22:57 by Nate Geer

Today Jesse, Joannah, and I went to Wolfson hospital to visit all of our Gazan kids.

When we first saw Yazen in the ICU, he appeared to be doing quite well.

Later, I decided to go back and visit him again before we left, and saw him in the beginning stages of a seizure. Nurses rushed to action as his skin color darkened, administering a series of anticonvulsant drugs that successfully stopped the seizures. 

Hala and her Grandfather received some good news today: they can go home! Her surgery is complete, and she is doing well. 

It was an enjoyable drive back to the border, it is a great time to talk, and understand more of what life is like in Gaza. I enjoyed hearing the stories of Hala's Grandfather - a fifth generation fisherman!

Kareem is usually shy, but today he was especially apprehensive because his surgery is tomorrow.

His mother was also quite nervous about the upcoming operation. Even so, we managed to get a smile from him with a little lesson in thumb-wrestling.

Zeyn was playing contentedly in his bed in secondary ICU:

He is happy and recovering well.

We caught Daia on the way to get some fresh air with his mom.

The weather was very accommodating! Sometime in the next two or three days he'll probably be discharged.

And finally, we found Little Eileen in ICU and recovering after her surgery.

The Latest on the Gazans

Posted on Wed, 03/21/2018 - 20:37 by Jesse Tilman

We've got a bunch of Gazans at the hospital currently. Four stayed from the clinic yesterday.

Zeyn is in secondary ICU now. It's good to see him without a drainage tube. He's sitting up and active.

Hala went to surgery in the afternoon after playing in the game room area during the morning. She came back for it the second time and was successful this trip. Her grandfather cares so much for her. He came out of the surgery area with tears in his eyes.

Daia is walking around and eating more, solid food even! He enjoyed some strawberries and a visit from the clown this morning. In the afternoon the nurses brought him for some work into the nurses station but he wasn't having any of it and eventually they sent him back to his room.

Two month old Eileen is sitting pretty in the ward waiting for a catheterization in two days. Her grandmother speaks some English and was glad to talk a bit.

Seven year old Kareem is also there, next to Deia'a, after coming fit the Gaza Clinic on Tuesday. He's waiting for an operation on Sunday.

Yazen, surprisingly, is in the regular ward receiving oxygen and gaining nutrition. He's already looking much better, but has a long way to go.


Afif is in seclusion in ICU with a virus. We didn't get a picture. He was brought at night by ambulance on the eleventh. He has a serious infection and is isolated for a while.

Another Hectic Gaza clinic!

Posted on Tue, 03/20/2018 - 22:34 by Co-authored

Written by: Nate Geer and Johanna Ebert

 

Today we had two taxis full of Gazans, plus an unexpected 6 month old boy named Yazen that we had to go pick up later in the day.


 

Daia is just beginning his long road to recovery, but there have been improvements everyday, he is now able to walk with assistance and is talking easier. He will be seeing a specialist to look into his reluctance to eat solid food.

Two and a half month old Eleen will be staying at the hospital to receive a surgery to fix a hole in her heart. Halla was also admitted for surgery, she had been admitted before, but had been sent home because of a virus.

There was another sweet little girl, Abdesan. She is 7 month old and came with her grandma for an echo. It was so nice to see how lovely the grandma acted with her. And  they got great news, the hole in her heart looked smaller than the last time. So maybe she will need no surgery, but the doctor still wants to see her again in 3 months.

All of the other patients were there for follow up echos; Doha and Abdul were siblings that both got catheterizations over two years ago and their echos looked great! 14 year old Ibrahim had a surgery two years ago to repair a stenotic valve. 28 year old Hamad received a surgery when he was 10 years old, now that his heart is fully developed, he will be getting a bigger artificial heart valve in the near future. Naaman and Ali were both 8 year olds who previously had surgeries to repair stenotic valves, both of their echos were normal and they will have another follow up in a year.

 

As the last group of children arrived the hospital, Nate and I got the message that we had to go to Gaza and pick up a child. The little boy had just come out of hospital there and needed urgent help. We didn't have a lot of information, only that he was in a bad condition. So, we took oxygen and other emergency equipment with us. As we saw him for the first time we were really appalled. Poor Yazen was extremely dehydrated and emaciated, it was possible to see his ribs move in great detail with each of his labored breaths, a chest tube appeared out of his nose and he was permanently whining. The grandma seemed to be quite relieved as Nate took him in his arms. In the car we checked his oxygen, heart rate and respiration. And we were just surprised about his unexpected good values. At the hospital they sent us straight away to the echo rooms and the doctor there diagnosed an TAPVR. He will need surgery as soon as possible. But what he also really needs is our prayer! It is unbelievable how hard his short life has already been.

Update on our Gaza Children

Posted on Sun, 03/18/2018 - 21:37 by Jesse Tilman

Only a few of our children from Gaza are in the children's department of Wolfson hospital currently. Deia'a and Mohammed are in the ward and Zeyn is over in the ICU.

I got to spend some quantity time with Daia. He's looking much better, though he still talks very quietly from a rough throat. The doctor came by and made sure he's drinking plenty of water. He's getting intravenous nutritional supplements while his grandmother offers him food now and then. He refused while I was there.
 
We talked a bit and looked at some reading material. Daia smiles more often now and seems to be thinking clearly. His grandmother needed some personal medicine so we left him in the care of his visiting uncle from Tel Aviv and worked on getting her prescription and going to the pharmacy. A clown also came by and entertained Daia with bubbles, frogs, and laughs. He played along and sat up a while.  Later at lunch time we made a picnic there below Daia's bed by spreading out some sheets and ate together with Mohammed's mother who is just two beds over.
 
 
Mohammed looks well and the nurses said he is recovering fine. They did come and put him on oxygen though. He's well kept and snuggled in his hospital blankets. His mother is happy to help around the room with the other patients as Mohammed is pretty content and quiet. 
 
 
Zeyn, our one year and five month old in ICU, is slowly stepping up in health. His guardian grandmother said they have been there since Sunday. She showed me that his fluid drainage has slowed though. It is down from two apparatuses to one. It was about half full, so that might be why he is still in intensive care. She practiced her basic English with me and we got to know each other. An external pacemaker machine was still on Zeyn's bed though it is not hooked up any more. His grandmother thought it was and was very happy when we showed her that Zeyn is only wired to a monitoring machine now.
 
Cute Basant got to go back to Gaza on Friday along with Eiyad. We did a special trip to bring them home. The other parents talked longingly of Basant going home. They are getting close as well though. With all we've been through with Deia'a, I'll miss him. At least he'll probably be back for checkups often though!
 

Kindergarten Clinic

Posted on Tue, 03/13/2018 - 21:19 by Ben van Wijhe
Tuesday...Gaza clinic day! It was my first time to go with Yousef, the Coordinator, to be at the Gaza clinic at Wolfson. It's always nice and exciting to do something new. There were 7 children to be helped, so a special taxi bus was arranged to get them from the Erez border. When Yousef and I arrived at Wolfson, there were no children yet. A few phone calls later, Yousef concluded they would not arrive before one o'clock. Bummer! I decided to go for a walk and have a coffee. When I returned at one, the echoes were in full swing.
 
 
First I saw little baby Jana with her mother. She's a beautiful baby girl of 7 months, who has had a catherisation and now needed an echo check-up. The baby was doing well.
 
 
Secondly I saw Subheeya, a shy 9 year-old girl. I tried to communicate a bit, but she wasn't very talkative. She did pose nicely for the photo though!
 
 
Then there was 4 year-old, bare-chested Seif. He hadn't bothered to put on his clothes yet after the echo. I could still see the line on his chest of the operation he had. His aunt was very welcoming and ready to talk, even though it was hard to communicate. I understood Seif was doing very well now and had lots of energy, as a boy should. I quickly learned this myself as we started playing later.
 
 
The next story is a bit of a sad one. I started talking with the mother of Shith (the biblical name Seth) and got help from a translator. Shith was lying asleep in his mothers arms and didn't look so well. He is a boy of nearly 3 and has had his heart operation in Hadassa hospital in Jerusalem. Apparently things did not develop as planned, for his oxygen level is still too low. The doctors in the Gaza hospital had given her little hope of full recovery for the boy. She had tears in her eyes as she told me this. He is now here for examination to see what still can be done. Let's hope and pray that the doctors at Wolfson still can see a way forward for full recovery.
 
 
Next Mahmoud came out of the echo room. He was there for the first time to be examined. He will be back the 26th of March. He definitely will need an operation in order to thrive well and live a long life. What a privilege that these services can be provided here in Israel for children from Gaza.
 
As I looked around I couldn't find Souzan. Where was she? I checked with Yousef. Apparently she was already taken to the ward. She needs to be helped quickly. The operation is scheduled to be coming Sunday. Thank you Lord for timely help!
 
 
I am ending the story for today with happy little Salma. She is a very spontaneous, cheeky giggly girl that changed the atmosphere as soon as she got out of the echo room. She quickly started playing with the other kids and we soon had a lively happy bunch. I jumped in and handed out some balloons, when they were out of things to play with.
 
 
What a fun we had with keeping the balloons up in the air! Even Subheeya got out of her chair. The rest of the afternoon was filled with playing games. Guessing in which hand we held a coin. Playing hide and seek. The doctors and nurses were frowning a bit on us, as we used all the spaces and rooms to hide, but from the smile on their faces it was obvious that they were enjoying it too.
 
When we finally waved them off in the bus taxi, there were many happy faces and bye bye's from the children as well as the moms. This wasn't a Gaza clinic, this was Kindergarten clinic!
 

Good Day with Gazan Friends

Posted on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 16:24 by Co-authored

Written By: Nate Geer and Maxine Stuart

Today started out with a trip to the Israel-Gaza border to pick up little Zeyn. My friend Maxine and I brought Zeyn in for his surgery, the crossing into Israel from Gaza was smooth and rapid. 

We still have a lot to learn, but each crossing has been better organized than the previous one. 

Grandma was such a kind soul, she could not watch little Zeyn get his IV. If anyone except for Grandma tried to hold him, Zeyn would immediately start to cry.

Zeyn will have his surgery in the next few days.

 

 

Little Basan was sleeping when we visited her. Unfortunately she still has the respiratory syncytial virus, and will be on antibiotics for another 3 days. What a cute baby she is!

 

Mohammed is doing very well and was feeding when we visited. I spoke to his Mum for some time, she is a beautiful and sweet lady. Even though she has barely had any sleep, she is happy her baby is getting better.

 

Dai'ah is in desperate need of your prayers now, he has had to undergo a prolonged CPR. They managed to get his heart started again, but subsequent CT scans revealed several brain bleeds and they are still discovering the extent of his brain damage.

The doctors are now looking into options for transferring him to a rehabilitation hospital.

 

Eiyad took his surgery like a champ and his recovery has been going great.

 

UPDATE: Ahmed was sent back home to wait for a confirmed surgery date because his condition is good enough to delay surgery and allow the emergency cases to have prority. We hope he is able to get a slot soon.

 

Basan and Ahmed

Posted on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 02:43 by Rebecca Keller

Today we went to Wolfson hospital to visit the Gaza kids there. First we saw little Basan. She seemed to be better, but the doctors don't know when she will be allowed to go home. She has a lung infection and is now treated with antibiotics and we were told that it will just take some time. The CT, which was supposed to happen today, was moved to tomorrow. Her grandmother seemed to be a little exhausted, but she was happy that Basan was doing better.

We also met Ahmed, a seven year-old boy. He is waiting for his surgery which is not scheduled yet. First he was scared, because there were suddenly so many people around him. But after we spent some time with him, he was more open and was smiling. His grandmother was really happy about our visit and took pictures of Ahmed and us.

 
 

Lots of Updates!

Posted on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 18:04 by Co-authored
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26
 
For our clinic, we had five families from Gaza come to Wolfson for echoes. When we entered the hallway to spend some time with them, the atmosphere was very quiet and all the kids seemed to be shy and fearful. We brought some toys to play with them, but we didn't really know what we could do with them at first. It's easy with babies, you can just take them and carry them around, but these kids were all about 4 years old and up. Hamad was already 15 years-old.
 
Fortunately, we had a little tennis ball in our bag, and the kids loved it. It was so good to see how they just started to smile and to laugh!
 
 
So we played a little bit of "soccer" with two of the boys (Hussein and Jamil) and another girl that was there, but not through Shevet. 
 
Hussein is a three and a half year-old boy, that has already undergone two surgeries in his short life; one when he was six months-old and the other at one year. He has also had a catheterization, and now they are considering a third surgery for him. In half a year he will come back for another echo, and these results will decide whether or not he will have another surgery. 
 
Jamil on the other hand looked about the same age, maybe a little older, four to five years old. He has had three surgeries already! Once as a little two week-old baby, then at two years, and the most recent was a month ago. He was there today for a postsurgery echo and is doing well now. Praise the Lord!
 
While those two lovely boys were playing with some Lego that we brought, another one really sparked my compassion. His name is Ahmad. He is about seven to eight years old and it was his first time at the hospital. So he was going to be admitted today, but was really unhappy about it. He cried all the time and looked so so sad, because he wanted to go back home to his parents. His grandma is escorting him. It was good to see that his dad called him to encourage him very gently and you could feel he was really caring for his son.
 
The last guy was Hamed, the fifteen year-old boy. It was not easy to interact with him because he is already grown up, and none of us speaks his language. But he seemed to be comforted and relaxed. So he has had his first surgery at the age of six and another one two months ago. So it was also a postsurgery echo for him. He is doing well so far; let's pray that this state will remain! 
 
 
Mohammad came to Wolfson today from Gaza in an ambulance because he was not healthy enough to wait for what could potentially be hours in the immigration line without oxygen. The Palestinian medics were very concerned for Mohammad and ran straight to the ICU with him, but the nurses there told them to get out and take the baby to the ward with indignant cries of "Ma asitem?" (what are you doing?) and "Lama po?"  (why here?). So now, he is being treated for RSV pnemonia in the ICU isolation room. His treatment is going well.
 
Eiyad received one of several surgeries he will be getting in the coming years, this particular surgery closed a hole that was between two chambers in his heart.
 
 
Today, he was extubated and is in a stable condition. He will remain in the ICU for a few more days while they care for the surgical site drainage. 
 
We visited Daia again today. He is intubated in the ICU and in a serious condition.
 
 
Even with multiple CT scans the doctors have still not been able to pin down exactly what is going on inside his brain. They do know that his aorta was torn during the last catheterization, which needed a patch grafted. They also know that a cerebral hemorrhage occurred while he was in the ICU. He was one of the first children that I visited when I started with Shevet nearly two months ago. And it was sad to see his previously athletic frame thin and weak from his extended hospital stay. Please pray for a miracle in this young man's life! 
 
His grandmother is wilting, and there is sadness in her eyes. Although the situation is very bad, we should trust God who is faithful and makes all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. We should not lose heart, and keep praying for Daia.
 
Written by: Nate Geer, Sophia Vogt, and Noelle Chung

Loving on Our Gaza Kids

Posted on Sun, 03/04/2018 - 23:19 by Nate Geer

Archie and I visited the Gaza children in Wolfson hospital today. 

Daia has been in the ICU since Friday and is intubated again. It is his third time going back to the ICU and his mother is starting to feel the strain of constantly waiting. Because they suspect he may have had some sort of stroke, he is scheduled for a CT scan in the morning. Even with all the stress that Grandma was under, she carried around a napkin full of candies that she offered to the other families and nurses in an effort to raise their spirits! 
 

I got to meet a little one named Mohammed for the first time today. Even while intubated, he was active and full of vigor, constantly moving his arms and legs amongst all the tubes and wires. The ICU was very busy so we did not get to stay long. The nurses gave him some breathing tests while we were there.

We met a friendly clown named Stuey who had hitchhiked across the US!
 
 
 We also got to see Eiyad again when he came back from Gaza for a check-up. The first time I saw him, he was at the Erez border crossing to Gaza and in rough condition, so it was good to see him this time looking happy and healthy. 
 
 
Basan is still recovering from her surgery 2 weeks ago and was being carefully observed in the ward.
 
 
Please pray for all of these precious souls made in the image of God! We are thankful for the chance to show them love. 
 

Happy Clinic and Daia Update

Posted on Tue, 02/27/2018 - 20:14 by Co-authored

Today nine children from Gaza came with their parents or their grandma to Wolfson hospital.

I took some time until everything was organized, so the kids could go to the doctor. While they were waiting for their echos we had the chance to get to know the kids a little bit and they seemed all very joyful.

We gave them some pitas and fruit for lunch and the moms were really happy and thankful. A three year old boy named Kamal was first a little shy, but also very curious and was smiling a lot.

The echos went well and the kids were allowed to go back home again. Most of them will have to return in six months or a year to be checked again by the doctors.

While the families were waiting until everyone was done and the papers were ready, we had some time to play with the five year old Jude.

She had some doctor's items to play with and a little doll, which was her patient. It was a long day and the families were happy when they were able to return home.

Praises to our great lord who is protecting these children and caring for them and fills them with so much joy!

One of our longer term Gaza kids, Daia, was in the ICU today. He had a cath and surgery yesterday, although what specifically was not made known to us or his grandmother at the time. He was heavily sedated and looked exhausted from everything he’d been through in the past couple of days. His grandmother was especially impacted by this sudden turn over as Daia appeared happy and was sitting in the ward talking two days previously. She spoke with the doctor in the ICU briefly who assured her that Daia is stable and recovering. She came back to Shevet Achim tonight to eat as well. Daia will hopefully be back to his old self soon.

Written by: Rebecca Keller and Esther Vine

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