Gaza Children's Heart Surgery


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Gaza Children
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Peaceful and Fruitful

Posted on Tue, 05/27/2014 - 21:41 by Philip Rasmussen

Today's Gaza clinic was one of the smallest clinics in Shevet's history. Only one family received permission to travel, meaning we had a much more peaceful day today than we normally do. Lately it has been difficult for the families to receive permissions, and we would appreciate your prayers for the families to be able to come in large numbers.

Though we only had one family to pick up at the Gaza border this morning, we were more than happy to see our little friend Barra.

He underwent a heart surgery one year ago and has since been coming to Wolfson for follow-ups. In addition to his visit today, we have had plenty of other opportunities to connect with this little boy and his family, as we have been assisting in his cleft palate treatment in Haifa. Every time we see him, he has grown bigger and bigger, and today was not an exception.

The medical team at Wolfson Medical Center was satisfied with his condition and has scheduled him for a follow-up in six months’ time. They also tested his pacemaker with good results. His mother was happy for the good news. She was also quite hospitable during our visit, offering us coffee and homemade sweets.

We also had another family from the West Bank join us today for the Wolfson clinic. Adorable Taala was invited for a follow-up almost one year after her surgery.

During her previous stay at the hospital, we started to build a relationship with her and her parents and have since had several opportunities to help with transporting them to and from the hospital. Taala is doing great, and just like Barra she also had a pacemaker implanted in her heart. She is a shy girl and difficult to reach, but by the end of the day she was asking us to take pictures with her. We were glad to participate!

We give thanks to God for an impactful day at the hospital and for a good time of fellowship with our friends.

Hope For Young Hearts

Posted on Tue, 05/20/2014 - 21:21 by Lina Sara

Today I traveled with Aad to pick up our Gaza children from the border and take them to Wolfson Hospital for examinations. Thank God all of the children we invited to come received permission to cross the border into Israel. 

Three kids were with us at the hospital today. Faisal (seven years old) came for follow-ups after his prior catheterization and CT scan.

Mousa (a cute two-and-a-half year-old boy) came for a re-evaluation.

The third child joining us was Nour, an active two-year-old needing an evaluation.

We were so happy to drive them to Wolfson, and we had fun in the van chatting and listening to music. Upon reaching the hospital, we had a chance to meet the Israeli doctors along with other families from the West Bank also at Wolfson for the heart clinic. The children played together and enjoyed each other’s company.

By the end of the day, we got results from the three children’s exams. Faisal needs a surgery, but the doctors must meet before taking action and discuss his case due to its complicated nature. Mousa needs a catheterization, but not urgently so. He will come to Wolfson again for a follow-up next year in order for the doctors to examine his heart and decide when they can do the catheterization. Little Nour has a ventricular septal defect (a hole between the right and left ventricles of her heart), and she will be invited in the near future for surgery.

All the children slept in the van on the way back home to Gaza. Please keep them in your prayers and pray especially for wisdom for the Wolfson doctors as they decide how to proceed with Faisal's surgery.

Fawzi and Nissan's Visit

Posted on Tue, 05/13/2014 - 21:18 by Lina Sara

Today the Shevet team and I went to meet our Gaza children at Wolfson Hospital. We were so excited to see Fawzi and Nissan, two children coming from Gaza for follow-ups with the Wolfson doctors. Their mothers were also excited to find out more about the state of their children’s hearts.

Fawzi had his surgery a month ago, and it wasn't an easy one. But today after his follow-up echo, Dr. Tamir said Fawzi is doing well and doesn't need medication at the moment. He must return in three months, however, for another follow-up due to his pace maker.

Our other friend Nissan was in Israel towards the end of January and told to return after three months for another follow-up. During his examination today, we found out he’s doing well but must continue to stay on medication. He will return to Wolfson for another follow-up in one year’s time.

Both Fawzi and Nissan had a great time playing together with other kids from the West Bank and Fawzi's cousins (who live in Haifa). We had a good time with the families, and I thank God for this day and pray for more good news to come as we continue to serve these Gaza children.

Precious Children

Posted on Wed, 04/30/2014 - 19:51 by Lina Sara

Today we went to the border to meet our Gaza children and bring them to Wolfson Hospital to be checked by the Israeli doctors. We had three children from Gaza: Sobhia (five years old), Saleh (seven years old), and Jalal (fourteen years old). Each child’s parents were so excited to come to these Israeli hospitals because they have a large amount of trust in the doctors. All three patients have been traveling back and forth between Gaza and Israel for treatment since they were infants.

Sobhia has not yet had her surgery, as the doctors believe it's still too early to operate on her.

She has normally been required to come once a year to Wolfson, but today Dr. Alona decided to begin checking her every six months.

Saleh has been through two surgeries, and he is doing well at the moment. He will need to return in one year for another follow-up.

Jalal had one catheterization in 2007, but he might need another one in the near future. He usually comes once a year to Wolfson for a check-up.

This year, however, he will need to return in six months’ time due to his parents’ concern for his health and the doctors’ willingness to receive him at an earlier time. During his check-up today, Dr. Alona was patient and checked him several times to make sure his condition is optimal.

I thank God for the ministry of Shevet Achim that is connecting Gaza children with Israeli doctors. Please pray for us to be able to reach more and more children to help in saving their lives.

A Lovely Day

Posted on Tue, 04/22/2014 - 18:44 by Co-authored

Today's Gaza clinic consisted of two separate trips. Philip and Yousef traveled to Rambam Hospital in Haifa to assist Barra and his mother, while Lina visited the remaining Gaza families at Wolfson Hospital. Philip and Lina both share their accounts of the day below.

Philip writes:

Today Yousef and I escorted Barra and his mother to Rambam Hospital in Haifa where Barra's treatment is provided. Barra is getting big, and he is more cheerful than ever. He wasn’t even afraid to sit with a white foreigner and wait for his mother while she purchased Israeli groceries. 

We have been blessed with the opportunity to follow little Barra during the process of getting his cleft lip fixed. We met him through our Gaza clinic program at Wolfson Hospital, where he received a heart surgery one year ago, and we’ve been seeking to build on our established relationship.

Today's consultation revealed Barra's previous operation still looks successful. He is ready for a second operation, which will hopefully take place in June. I encourage you to scroll down and turn to page two where you can see a picture of Barra before his first surgery. The change is breathtaking. It’s so wonderful Barra is receiving the treatment he needs, treatment which, Lord-willing, will enable him to grow up with great courage and a remarkable testimony to share with his people.

After our visit to Rambam, we arrived in time at Wolfson to transition Barra and his mother into the van heading back towards Gaza with the other families who had been at the Gaza clinic for heart examinations. We are grateful for a beautiful day and for stronger relationships built.

Lina writes:

Today I headed to Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv to meet our Gaza clinic children.

We had four kids from Gaza today. The first two had not been to Wolfson for at least two years. The doctors were concerned about them, so today’s visit was timely. Their names are Akram (twelve years old) and Bashir (four years old). I’m glad we were able to get them to Wolfson today, as the doctors discovered both children require further surgeries.

Our third child was little Maha, a very active girl who couldn’t calm down during my visit and was constantly following me. Maha is unable to speak properly, so she is not in a regular school. She either studies at home or at a school for children with special needs.

Our fourth case was Fajer, an eight-month-old girl who had her first heart echo today.

Her father was very concerned about her and was saddened to have his fears of her potential heart defect confirmed. Fajer will need surgery, and we hope a surgery date will arrive soon.

I had an excellent time with the families, especially with the kids as we played and laughed together.

Please pray for Bashir, Akram, and Fajer to be admitted soon for their surgeries and for healing for Maha’s speech impediment. Each of these children’s souls is precious, and we long for their healing. 

An Answer to Prayers

Posted on Wed, 04/09/2014 - 00:12 by Lina Sara

Last week I was expecting four families from Gaza to travel to Wolfson Hospital for follow-ups, but all but one of them were held back due to permission problems at the border. But today, praise the Lord, five families were able to travel to Wolfson. The families were all coming for follow-up appointments, and they were so happy to arrive into Israel.

We had a good time speaking to them, sharing news together, joking and laughing, and playing with the kids.

All the families will have to come for follow-ups again, and two of the five children need further surgeries. Please continue to pray for complete healing for these kids and for the people of Gaza, who are daily living in difficult circumstances.

Good News of Great Healing

Posted on Tue, 04/01/2014 - 22:32 by Lina Sara

Another Tuesday Gaza clinic came around today, and I was waiting to hear from four families attempting to come from Gaza to be checked by Wolfson doctors. Unfortunately, three of the families didn't get permission to come to Israel, but one was allowed through: a young lady by the name of Amal. She is normally escorted by her mother, but today her aunt was her companion.

Amal has been through three surgeries. She has a valve problem, and her last surgery was a valve replacement. Her follow-up today revealed good health. Dr. Tamir performed a long echo and came out with the good news that Amal's artificial valve is fine.

Amal went home to Gaza carrying good news of a healing heart. She will need to return to Wolfson Hospital for another check-up in a year’s time. Please pray for continued healing for Amal and for smooth travels and no problems next week when we try to bring more Gaza children across the border.

Editor’s Note: Fawzi (see posts below) was released from Wolfson Hospital to return home last Thursday. He is healing well after his surgery, and we hope to see further progress over the coming months.

A Happy Day

Posted on Tue, 03/25/2014 - 22:01 by Lina Sara

This morning I headed to Wolfson with Aad and Yousef to meet the families coming from Gaza to Israel for medical work. All the mothers were bringing their kids for follow-up exams, and they were excited to see us again. As Gaza coordinator, I've developed good relationships with these families, and we had fun chatting together and speaking about their news from Gaza.

The four families who were part of the clinic went home with good reports concerning their children, but they will need to return in six months for more follow-ups.

One of these children is Mohammed, who's family knew our director Jonathan and his family when they lived in Gaza.

Mohammed’s mother was telling me how much she misses those days when they used to be neighbors with Jonathan in Gaza. She also said she named her youngest boy Zechariah, like Jonathan's youngest son.

We also had a chance today to visit our little friend Fawzi, who is doing well post-surgery but still has some fluid built up around his heart.

The doctors at Wolfson are anticipating his discharge on Thursday.

Please keep praying for Fawzi's healing and for more chances for the children of Gaza to be able to come to Israel.

Update on Fawzi and Dea

Posted on Thu, 03/20/2014 - 22:57 by Theresa Vollath

Today we left the Shevet base hoping to pick up Dea from Wolfson Hospital. Upon reaching the hospital, we received the joyous news that Dea had a smooth and problem-free catheterization yesterday and has been discharged. His mother said he couldn't sleep in the hospital because of his homesickness, so the timing was perfect for this sweet child. On the way to the Gaza border, Dea finally fell asleep, catching up on some of his sleepless moments. When we arrived at the Erez crossing, he was so happy to be back home.

We also visited Fawzi, who finally had his complicated surgery yesterday! At the moment, he is in the ICU receiving great medical attention and care.

His mother is with him, and relatives from Israel were visiting during our time there, helping make this hard time easier for Fawzi’s mother. She was grateful to see someone from Shevet Achim again and seemed touched by the support we are giving her through our prayers and care for her and her son. 

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers on these precious kids. May the Lord bless them.

Precious Lives

Posted on Tue, 03/18/2014 - 21:11 by Theresa Vollath

Setting out from the Shevet base this beautiful spring morning in Israel, we traveled to Wolfson Hospital to meet with and help support four families from Gaza. 

Little Mohammed had a complicated surgery when he was four months old.

Since then he has been coming to Israel every six months for a check-up.

Last year he had a catheterization, and after his check-up today he will need to see the doctors again in three months instead of six, after which they will decide if another surgery or catheterization is needed.

Dea is a shy, little boy.

He will stay in the hospital until Thursday for a catheterization.

Sweet Afnan had a surgery in Germany when she was a baby.

Over the last few years, she has been coming to Tel Aviv for post-surgery follow-ups, and the doctors at Wolfson are attempting to communicate with her German surgeon in order to decide upon her further treatment. Afnan will stay at the hospital for the time being in order to undergo an urgent catheterization tomorrow.

Ahmad is an open, cheerful eleven-year-old boy.

He had his first (three in total) surgery when he was only two weeks old. He is here for a post-surgery follow-up, and the doctors are debating whether or not to perform another surgery on him after he grows a bit more.

Afterwards we visited Fawzi (see the prior blog post), who’s surgery was supposed to take place yesterday but was delayed due to a lack of space in the ICU for him. But tomorrow might see his operation!

We pray for the kids and their families. Hear their fears and give them comfort, Lord.

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