Gaza Children's Heart Surgery

Gaza Children
Paid in full

Update on Mira and Noor

Posted on Fri, 12/29/2017 - 03:34 by Co-authored

From Darlene Schumacher:

Jesse and I went to Wolfson hospital today and got to visit one of our Gaza children, Mira. Presently, Mira is hooked up to an oscillatory ventilator in ICU. This is a big machine with long, fat tubes that go to her mouth to help her breathe. The machine seems to make her little body vibrate continuously. I thank God for the skill of the medical staff who care for her and the inventions that help sustain life! I was blessed to offer a small prayer to God for her healing. We would be blessed to have you join us in prayer for her. 

Jesse Tilman continues:

Going to see baby Noor is rough when you come upon the many machines and tubes surrounding her. She is on an ECMO machine that oxygenates, warms, and pumps her blood without using the heart or lungs. We hope that her body will be better able to heal itself while those organs are getting a rest.

Speaking to a nurse nearby, she told us that Noor's chest is also still open and that her prognosis is not good. Just going on an ECMO machine itself is a sign that the body is running down, and the doctors are doing what they can to save her. There is still much hope for Noor, but we are preparing for the possibility that she may pass away. Thank you for taking the time to read about her and saying a prayer for her and her aunt. Her aunt is a good friend now of Mira's grandmother who is always nearby.
We got to spend some time with these two guardians outside the ICU and exchange a little information with our limited Arabic skills. They smile readily and are glad to have visitors.

Our Latest Gaza Clinic

Posted on Wed, 12/27/2017 - 04:44 by Jesse Tilman

Children were able to come for echocardiograms to the hospital from Gaza today in a few stages. We had our main group first thing in the morning and then a child around 1pm and then the last one after 3pm. The gauntlet of permissions, guardians, schedules, official documents, and transportation coordinations often narrows down the list of potentials to around half of the hopefuls.

Nissan was in the first group. I'm convinced he's a genius in the making. Alert and watchful, he shows an understanding of goings-on around him that surpasses many adults. He uses his budding English to effect.
Somaia also came in the early morning. An eleven years old, she was the surprise of the day as her heart turned out to be completely healthy. Her pulmonary arteries are dilated, but with no significant effect on the heart.
Omar also came in the first group. After his echocardiogram he was admitted for the night at the hospital. He's two months old today. 
While in the echo department we met 14 year-old Mohammed from Gaza that had had surgery a few days before.  His dad and I got in on a selfy with him. He's not very excited about hospital life, especially as he will have to have another surgery.
As you can see in the pictures, two Gazan doctors joined us during the day as well as one doctor in training: Bashear, Faez, and Yasmin respectively. They were an invaluable help throughout the time with their language and relational skills.
Just as we were leaving for the day, baby Mona came by taxi. Her trip today had been scheduled, cancelled,  and rescheduled a few times. Finally pushed through, she arrived by special delivery. She's on track for a catheterization tomorrow I believe, after the echo today. 
But the treasures our Heavenly Father had prepared for today were not done yet! During the afternoon, two family members related to Somaia, who work in the hospital were contacted and came to spend time with her and her father. Then when we were ready to go, her father's long lost niece in Tel Aviv that he had not seen for 35 years was able to come and have a quick reunion with them before they returned to Gaza. It was a heart-wrenching punch of emotion as they put years worth of love into a few intense minutes.
Thank you God for the blessings found today! You are the God of the family; every girl, boy, parent, relative, and life season is in Your hand. Thank You for blessing a few families from Gaza today.

Mira, Marwa, and Mohammed

Posted on Wed, 12/20/2017 - 19:09 by Co-authored

From Ana Ruiz:

Today I went to the hospital with Jesse and Johanna to check on our Gaza kids. I saw Mira and she is doing well. However, her surgery has been postponed because there is a certain machine they need for her post-op care. At the moment, the hospital only has two of these machines, so they have to wait until one of them becomes availble to use. Then, they can schedule her surgery. The doctor that is caring for Mira told me that for this reason nobody knows when she will have the surgery. It all depends on when the machines will be free. 

We hope that the machine will be available as soon possible. Please join us in praying!

Jesse Tilman continues:

Sweet Marwa is in the regular children's ward now. She's happy to just stay undercovers and quietly watch the hospital life go by.

We got to visit her and see how she was doing. She didn't want much attention, but she let us shake her hand and do a few fist bumps. A person passing out Hanukkah sweets came by and delivered an amazing assortment.

We ate some together and asked about the puzzles she likes to put together. Later a group of kids handing out Hanukkah presents gave her a package and paused for a photo too.

When we came back later with some puzzles for her, she had changed rooms and was ready for more sleep. Her grandmother was happy to see the attention she was getting, but let us know when Marwa needed some rest. 
Thank God for this beautiful young lady! She is slated for a second surgery in the days ahead. Her first one was not a complete repair. As you can imagine she is not so happy about the thought of another such process, but she is staying strong. Please remember her in your prayers.

Our big 11 year-old, Mohammed, was the chosen one to go to surgery today in the afternoon. After ten days in the hospital his turn came around and we got to see him off to the downstairs operating rooms.

When we first saw him this morning, he and his guardian uncle told us a bit about their situation. Mohammed has five sisters and two brothers and is a middle child. He's had some pain recently, I'm not sure if from anxiety or from the medical processes and work. He's received many Hanukkah gifts and got one more while we were there. We got to say a prayer for him with his uncle and commit his surgery to God's grace. They taught me the Arabic word for health, "sakha," so I could wish him good health.
When we returned after lunch, he was being prepped to go for the operation. We hurried with them down the hall to the elevators and then went downstairs for a last goodbye as he went on into the restricted surgery area. Then we showed his uncle the way back upstairs. 
Soon we'll see this bright young man with a healed heart, Lord willing! His future is ahead of him and the way is opening up! May we continue to show him Messiah's love and where the help for his life is coming from. Our Heavenly Father's Hand is behind the orchestration of events that has made his surgery possible.

Noor, Marwa, Jana, and Mira

Posted on Sun, 12/17/2017 - 21:47 by Maxine Stuart

Today I checked on a few of our Gaza children who are at Wolfson hospital.

Noor was in surgery the whole time we were at the hospital today. I quickly got to meet her mum, and wished her the best. It was hard to see her sitting there waiting, but she had the company of other mums, and I pray the results are good.

Marwa is a beautiful little girl, it was my first time meeting her today. She was having an echo done at the time, and looked exhausted and in pain. The nurse reported that she is doing well, but will remain in secondary ICU tonight as she still has one drainage tube connected. They hope that maybe she can be moved to the children’s ward sometime tomorrow. I did not take any pictures in order to respect her modesty, and I also didn’t want to make her feel more uncomfortable than she already was. The staff are taking good care of her.

Jana was discharged today, and was taken back to Gaza by our team members Andrew and Suhail. It’s always nice to see someone leaving the hospital and on the other side of everything involved in surgery and recovery.

Mira is still awaiting her surgery in ICU. The doctor reported she is stable now, and might have her surgery on Tuesday. It was good to see her again:

She has a nice pink glow compared to the time I last saw her, which was the day she came to Israel and was fighting for her life.  Her Grandmother called to me from down the hallway, and came rushing towards me to give me a big hug and the customary Arabic kisses. She was so excited to see me, and happily told me the names of everyone in our team who had come to visit Mira. She is so grateful! She is hoping a lot more for Mira’s improvement then the first day I met her. I remember that during the drive from the border, she almost seemed indifferent to what might happen to Mira, as if there was so little hope. Now, I think after seeing how many people are fighting for Mira’s life, she has a renewed sense of hope. What a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of! I love how Shevet is a part of building bridges between people, something very beautiful comes out of it.

Mira, Marwa, and their Grandmothers

Posted on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 03:42 by Jesse Tilman

Our two Gaza girls are fighting through the invalid's life and with the help at the hospital, gaining their health. Their grandmothers are keeping a loving eye on them. The saying that grandparents get to just spoil and enjoy their little ones and once they are on a sugar high, send them home, still holds true; even though we are the ones they give chocolate and snacks to, while the kids are being worked on. These experienced ladies know how to bless others.

Mira is still in ICU recovering after a CT scan we look forward to hearing the results from tomorrow. She's intubated and sleeping on many medications. She required some suctioning for excess fluids, though. They are allowing pictures.
Her grandmother is getting used to her new environment and is very thankful. We took her some food and spoke a little with her. 
Marwa and her grandmother couldn't be found, but the nurses told us that the child went for surgery today. We went and looked for her grandmother here and there but without success. We hope to see her tomorrow and hear about the operation. After a few postponements, it was good to hear that she was taken today for the surgery. Here's some pictures of Marwa in the last few days. She enjoyed quietly putting puzzles together in the children's activity room in the garden.
God bless our little friends in the coming days. Truly, He's in the business of lifting up the humble, taking care of the helpless, and looking after the fatherless.

Mira Saved!

Posted on Sun, 12/10/2017 - 21:01 by Jesse Tilman

Maxine and I had the privilege to transport a month-old baby girl from the Gaza border to the hospital this morning. We were scheduled to be in house and family care when the word came through our co-worker Yousef that there was an urgent case coming out of Gaza. The child, Mira, was already on oxygen and we would need to bring a supply for her until we reached the hospital. Our house supply was low, so we considered options and after some requisitioning found a helping hand through the hospital. The regular ward wasn't able to give out a bottle of oxygen, but Dr. Houri in the ICU directed the staff to loan us a bottle, which they did after getting additional approval from another responsible party.

Now finally properly equipped, we set out to the Erez border crossing. There we were happily surprised to find our family not yet having come through. We had been worried they would be stuck in some middle-ground without an oxygen supply. After waiting a while and asking the gate guard for entrance, we phoned a co-worker for an update.
After a while more, we got the word that she would be out soon if she was not already. We renewed our efforts to enter the outer gate and position our oxygen supply for immediate use when she emerged, but the new gate guard also refused us entry by vehicle but suggested that we could walk inside with the oxygen supply.
Maxine was soon on her way in and I stood by ready with the van. She found the grandmother and child soon and phoned when she had gained permission from a guard who was taking care of her case for us to bring the vehicle inside. She was soon secured in the baby seat and we were on our way to Tel Aviv. 
The ride up was touch and go as Maxine labored to keep Mira's oxygen levels at a good range. Our home-use equipment was just able to do the job, keeping a running measurement of her oxygen and pulse, while we kept a watch on her breathing and complexion. We put on some Arabic music and tried to engage the grandmother with a few questions to keep her mind off the difficulties.
Arriving at the hospital, Dr. Alona was nearby and after a look at Mira brought her in to check her vitals. Finding her oxygen lowering, she started some extra measures and as the downward trend continued, called for help. 
Dr. Tamir walked calmly up and took charge as Dr. Alona let us know that Mira's fragile hold on life was collapsing. I did my best to relay the message on to her grandmother and asked her to pray. She replied that she would accept God's will. Our Shevet staff were soon alerted also and began asking our heavenly Father for his mercy. Soon even more hospital personnel were gathering and the head nurse was shooing even doctors out of the nurses station.
After a few tense minutes, the situation began stabilizing and we began taking fresh hope. Soon the staff were calming down and we were glad to see a renewed lease on little Mira's life. 
Next they layed her pale, skinny frame on a mobile infant bed and rushed her over to the ICU room. We followed with the grandmother and showed her where to wait outside. Yousef came by later and spoke with her. 
Dr. Sasson looked in on her stabilization in ICU as well. I went in later to check on her but the nurses still wanted no visitors, so after seeing to the grandmother, I prepared to leave.
Heading home, I reflected on what a miracle God had worked today! Talking earlier with Maxine we ran through how God had really taken care of each step on the way. From the oxygen supply, to the helpful guard at the border, to the ride north, to the "accidental" immediate meeting with Dr. Alona, to the answered prayers of our Shevet network, we were really blessed to be partners in God's work of giving another day of life to this precious little one. When Dr. Alona said that Mira was dying, I had remembered times with other children when the outcome had not been so good. But today was not one of those days!
We look forward to seeing Mira in the coming week and continuing the fight for her life. She is not out of the woods yet, as we say in America. Thank you for your interest in Mira's story and your petitions for her health. May she find new strength in her young struggle for continued life.

Marwa Admitted for Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 22:49 by Jesse Tilman

Yourself and I were privileged to bring 8 year old Marwa and her grandmother to the hospital from the Gaza border this morning. There's been just a few children coming out of Gaza lately as the usual case load hasn't yet picked back up to normal after the problems with a bacterial infection had shut it down for a while in the last year or so. We hope the life-saving treatments will soon once again be in good use for the needy in Gaza.

They were already out and waiting for us when we reached the border. Yousef  identified them and we escorted them to their seats in the van. I helped them with their seat belts and luggage. Marwa had a cute children's backpack that we sadly had to move aside so that she could sit properly. 
Her grandmother who came with her is a story herself as we found out. Sharing the same name, Marwa and Marwa are a special pair. She is stately and has the manners of a queen. Hardly what the normal media shows of what people from Gaza are like. On the van ride north she conversed with Yousef and held young Marwa as she slept on her shoulder.
At the hospital when I saw them after parking, they were already settled in the last room in the children's hall. Hospital pajamas, blankets, and sheets are very matching and made Marwa look as if she was a part of the place. Her grandmother was sitting with perfect posture next to her bed. I briefly helped them with connecting to the WiFi before stepping away.
 Elisa came with me later to see them as well. It was special for her as she had not helped out with a Gaza patient before. We were soon communicating as best we could with a mixture of Arabic, English, body language, and hand motions. Later Elisa tried some Duetsche (German) just for fun. Marwa's grandmother brought out some chocolate to share, Elisa figured out how to ask them to sign her journal, and I got them to have a thumb war. With Marwa winning everything though, we were looking for a new game plan when the nurses came and saved us from defeat.
Marwa is slated for surgery tomorrow and we hope to be there for her. Thank you God for this little girl, may she find new health in the opportunity for life You have given her through this partnership with Israeli doctors.

Cath for Maha

Posted on Sun, 11/19/2017 - 20:57 by Coby van Wijhe
This morning Ben and John went to the Gaza border to pick up Maha and her grandmother.
Maha is a beautiful girl of 5 years. She was admitted in Wolfson hospital today, and tomorrow she will have a catheterization.
Please join us in praying that this will go smoothly for her.

Gaza Clinic Back on Track!

Posted on Fri, 11/03/2017 - 20:57 by Coert van der Veen

Recently we didnt receive many children from Gaza due to a bacterial infection that spread over Gaza and North Africa. But we recently got updated about the declining of this infection, meaning the risk of bringing the infection into the hospital is low now. This means we can again bring children in from Gaza again!

On Tuesday, 5 families came to the Gaza clinic. 

We received Mohammed for an evaluation echo after his surgery earlier this year:

Also Fauzi came for evaluation:

Both boys are in good condition. Another Mohammed who is 13 years old has severe heart problems though:

He will have to come back in two weeks to Wolfson for his heart surgery. He has been struggling with heart problems since he was seven years old. His mother shed some tears as she heard the news that Mohammed had to be taken in for surgery. 

Khaled also came for evaluation, and after checking his echo results, the doctor told him: "See you next year!" Which is of course good news.
Finally we had a little and cute Mohammed who stole many hearts with his big blue eyes:
We had a good day of meeting old and new friends, sharing some food and being able to bless these families. The families often show their thanks to the hospital staff as well as to our Shevet volunteers. After a long day in the hospital we escorted the families to the mini-bus that brought them back to the Gaza border crossing.
Thank you, Lord!

Busyness as Usual

Posted on Wed, 07/12/2017 - 23:43 by Joseph Carter

This week at the Wolfson Gaza Clinic was beautiful busyness as usual. Nine children came from Gaza to have their echos done. Two children were admitted for cardiac catheterization: Hady and Hala. Seven children were at Wolfson to receive a cardiac follow-up: Adarab, Abdalla, Mohammad, Abed, Alla, Omar, and Said.

Throughout the busyness of the day it was difficult to have very good conversations with the children and parents.

However, we trust the Lord that our time and actions speak love to these people. It is his work through the Holy Spirit that changes lives.