Gaza Children's Heart Surgery

Gaza Children
Paid in full

No One Closes a Door God Opens!

Posted on Sun, 02/11/2018 - 23:43 by Maxine Stuart

Today was another day that we witnessed God’s guiding hand over the work we do here at Shevet.

This morning my team set out to do the usual visits at Wolfson hospital, but were on standby to pick up a 1 month old baby from Gaza who needs urgent surgery. I am almost at the end of a training program with the national ambulance service here in Israel, and was very fortunate to be joined by my fellow trainees and good friends, Liza and Nate. We were all excited to have the opportunity to use our emergency services training for God’s emergency services today.

We got the call just after we arrived to the hospital and set off immediately. We discussed baby Seif’s condition and our plan-of-action along the way. We made it to the border in good time, and waited for the first sight of our new little friend. Our Gaza team back at Shevet was in communication with us, and had received word that baby Seif was due to enter Israel at any moment.

Well, one hour turned into two, and then three. During that time our Gaza team made many phone calls as we gained permission and access to the border crossing building. There were a few times when it felt like we were hitting a wall that we would not get through, but we said some quick prayers, and each time, we got a step closer. While we were waiting at the gates, God brought along an officer that I recognised from a previous case. She quickly helped us gain access. Once inside, we discovered our baby was still held up on the Palestinian side of the border. While we waited further, I was praying for God to help me make relationships with the border staff so that future cases would benefit. God answered my prayer, and brought along the very officers that manage all civilian crossings. Without me even having to ask, they kindly offered their help in future, along with their contact details.

Because it was close to the border’s closing time, our team back at Shevet were praying hard, then we began to receive more help from multiple Israeli officers. Through many radio conversations, and ferrying of paperwork, they managed to get baby Seif and his grandmother through the final hurdles. They even re-opened the border gate (after closing time) to get them through! We were all very relieved when we finally saw a lady carrying a small bundle wrapped in blankets. They were the very last Gazans to cross into Israel that day.

Liza assessed baby Seif, and although his temperature was a little high, he was stable. We let our team know that we were on our way, and they alerted the hospital. The ride to the hospital was calm and peaceful.

Baby Seif was doing well, his oxygen saturation levels and heart rate were alright, and his grandmother was glad to finally be with us.

We even had a few laughs as Seif chugged down his milk quiet noisily! Between the 3 of us he was well monitored, and we didn’t even need to use the oxygen tank or any of the emergency responses we prepared for.

We arrived at the hospital safely, and were finally able to hand-over baby Seif.

He underwent some tests while we got him registered into the hospital system. We left him in the very capable hands of the Wolfson team, and the other Gaza Mums warmly welcomed Seif’s grandmother.

We left felling happy and privileged to be a part of God’s work today. He continually gives us His favour when we put our trust in Him. I have experienced this time and time again when volunteering at Shevet. He really pays attention to every detail! I know it sounds silly, but God even gave us His favour with the border’s vending machine! We had had no lunch, and as our last few coins dropped in, the machine malfunctioned, and out popped an extra packet of chips! We laughed and realised God was watching over the baby and us.

God is SO good and He loves us all so very much. What a wonderful God we serve!

Steady Progress

Posted on Wed, 02/07/2018 - 21:28 by Alena D'Olimpio

Daia is on day number two of his three day stay in the ICU. He is breathing with the help of an oxygen mask, but it no longer using a breathing tube. While I visited him, the nurses were working to set up a movie for him to watch, and doing their very best to make this sweet boy comfortable. He occasionally reached for the hand of his grandmother who was sitting beside him. Although he experienced pain yesterday, he is on the road to recovering and in the good care of Wolfson doctors.


After nearly a month in the ICU, baby Waseem was in the secondary ICU today, which is a gift from God. The past couple of visits, this little one has moved very little, and was somewhat fussy. However, today Waseem was active and in a good mood. Praise the Lord that this Gaza baby is steadily improving!

Zeyn, another baby from Gaza, arrived yesterday! He was up and around today, and is stable while he waits for surgery!

Mohaned (not pictured) also arrived from Gaza yesterday, he was in the middle of surgery while we were at the hospital today. Please join us in praying for this little one as he comes out of the operating room and into the recovery process!


Gazans in Good Hands

Posted on Sun, 02/04/2018 - 16:45 by Jesse Tilman

We got to visit our Gazan patients today. Sometimes they feel a little out of sight and out of mind over there at the hospital, so it's good when we get to give them some time and attention.

Daia is doing well after his catheterization. We played some foosball and put puzzles together until he went for a blood test.

Wasim is in ICU and the nurse said he's stable and doing better. He's covered with blankets and looks cozy.

Little Mohammed's grandmother got her wish and returned to Gaza today to trade out with his other grandmother who will take over his care.

Another baby Mohammed from Gaza I just met, is in the secondary ICU getting good care and able to be held often by his mother.

All in all we were blessed to be able to minister to these families this afternoon. They know that we are there to help them.

Daia Admission and Others in ICU

Posted on Tue, 01/30/2018 - 23:47 by Jesse Tilman

Young Daia was brought for admission for his catheterization tomorrow. He and his guardian called us a few minutes before we arrived to the Gaza border to check our ETA, because they were already through. We practiced our Arabic with them as we got to know them on the way north to the hospital.

Daia is eleven and has been through three surgeries already! Grown up strong now, he has a ready smile and knows the hospital procedures. They hooked up his EKG machine and he helped get it situated. Later his weight, height, and more was measured. His guardian was watching over him the whole time.
Wasim is still in ICU, on oxygen and getting excellent care. His guardian came in with me to see him. Mohammed as well, is there. When we saw him he was receiving some sunshine through the small windows above.
It's been a full house for a while in the ICU. The personnel are watching over the various cases as busy as bees.
One of our other children was being discharged, so we soon said goodbyes and a few prayers and we were on our way. 

Update on Our Kids

Posted on Mon, 01/29/2018 - 00:10 by Jesse Tilman

Our kids are getting along. We ferried a bunch around today and got status updates on a few that stayed in the hospital.

Wasim is in ICU and had his chest closed this morning. His guardian is patiently keeping watch over him. The nurses were working hard giving him a cleaning while we were there.
Little Mohammed was also there in ICU. They had to bring him back there after some problems with his diaphragm. His guardian was hoping to go home, but is still taking care of him.
Mai was discharged and joined us with a lot of bags. Two babies in the van (Lojain was also discharged) and it was still mostly silent! Their guardians helped each other out quite a bit as we saw them into the border building. 
It's a little hard saying goodbye to people you've gotten to know, but we are glad for them to be heading home to a good reunion with family.
Our Heavenly Father has blessed two more families!

Children on the Mend

Posted on Thu, 01/25/2018 - 22:31 by Co-authored

Jesse Tilman writes:

We have a few children on the mend right now. Two are in ICU, which is full up. Several of the children there are isolation cases, and we are taking extra precautions to keep them healthy.

Mai is in the ward in the same room as Mohammed. She's having some difficulty breathing, though I couldn't tell just by listening.

A nurse was doing an ultrasound when we visited them and said she had some difficulty with a lung that was pierced I think. She'll stay a bit longer for that to heal up.

Wasim is also in ICU and on fluid drainage.
We didn't get much info on him. A warming machine is funneling hot air over him. His grandmother has been blessed to get some rest lately, and patiently waits on him.
Little Mohammed's mother wants to go home and switch out caregivers for him. Mohammed is doing alright; waiting for surgery in the ward.
She was studiously feeding him from the bottle, working on getting him to gain weight.
Joanne Jackson continues:
Jesse and I visited baby Mai today and her grandmother. The grandma seemed happy to see me, (we were roomies for one night) so that was nice. This was the first time I had seen or met Mai and she is a beautiful little girl; she was all smiles
When we arrived, she was having an ultrasound so we waited a while. She was attached to chords and things but I was still able to hold her for a little while - actually she was quite heavy!  She is a long baby and her grandma said both her parents are tall, so her genetics could have her growing quite big some day. We came back for a second visit after our lunch and had some more interaction with Mai. She seemed very content and easily smiles which is so encouraging and a blessing. May she continue to heal and grow to be a healthy and happy young girl who knows her Father in Heaven who made her. 

This Week's Gaza Clinic

Posted on Tue, 01/23/2018 - 22:14 by Jesse Tilman

In our Gaza Clinic this week we only had two patients going to the usual echo checkups. Two of the Gaza doctors also came along, though.

Hani came along and slowly went through the day. He was born last March in 2016, and had surgery that September.
It was a full repair and he is doing well now. This is a marked difference from his initial condition of weighing just 4.5 kilos and having a failure to thrive and gain weight. It took a while for him to warm up to us, but he did start interacting after a while.
He moves and acts slowly, though I don't think from any medical condition. It seemed more like he was deeply thinking about everything. He's not scheduled for another checkup for another year.
Dana is a delightful girl who came for an echo today.
Her Down syndrome seems just to make her more joyful! Her mother watched over her well and laughed at her antics. Dana and Hani also made a trip each to the nurses checkup room down the hall for an EKG, and other tests. 
In other news, our boy Omar was discharged today and transported down to the Gaza border. We'll miss him but see him when he returns for checkups.
Thank God for His long-suffering love for us all! As we work to serve our neighbours from Gaza many mistakes are made and misunderstandings are almost commonplace. But somehow things work out and people get what they need. It's a testament to God keeping it all together, day after day after week after week!

The Gaza Five

Posted on Mon, 01/22/2018 - 19:59 by Jesse Tilman

We got to visit several of our Gaza children in the hospital today.

Omar and little Mohammed were in the ward. Omar was sleeping and I got a few pictures of him to send to his father. Mohammed was being fussed over by his grandmother.
He hasn't been eating much and she tried a few times to get him to eat more. Later a nurse came by and asked how much he had drunken from his bottle of nutritional milk. It was only 20 milliliters or so!
Mira is scheduled to go home today. We heard she was in the echo department so I walked over towards it to check. Coming up the stairs I met Mira, grandmother, and a young nurse bringing them back to the children's ward. I got to hold Mira for the walk back. They settled in the same room with Omar and Mohammed. We're waiting for their discharge papers till we drive them to the Erez border.
Later I went to see Mai and Wasim in the ICU. Mai is doing well they said, steadily gaining strength. Wasim, though, is still on a lot of medications and slowly mending.
The nurse said they started him on an IV drip nutrition line this morning. Both their guardians were outside and I did my best to pass on the information to them. 
May the Lord bless these kiddos!

Clinic Day

Posted on Wed, 01/17/2018 - 22:54 by Jesse Tilman

We used both vans for the transportation needs of the Gaza Clinic today. With a paper full of names, we were expecting to receive only four or five of them, maybe half of the applicants. Most were coming for check-up echocardiograms, and a few for catheterizations. 

Karam was by far the most energetic of the bunch.
His mother was good enough to tell us too, in her well pronounced but sparse English, "He is hyper-active today!" We had fun keeping up with them throughout the day. 
Hala was the oldest girl of the group and the most active that I saw.
She's wide-eyed and observant and takes care to listen. It was a joy to serve her.
"Hamoudi" Mahmoud  was a handful for his mother as he awkwardly crawled around. His large heavy head seemed to put him off balance easily.
These first three were the early birds out of the border crossing and got to go in the first van. The next two came some time later.
Maria came for an echo and admission for catheterization. Almost every time I saw her she was sleeping.
The news of the day for her was no need for the catheterization. Instead, a return home was in order.
Mai was our last and the literal baby of the family. Tiny and cute, we did our best to protect her little frame. Her news was that after the echo she was the one that ended up being admitted! She is now scheduled for surgery soon.
Throughout the day we also got to visit Mira, Omar, Jamil, and teenager Mohammed. Mira is thankfully in the regular children's ward and out of ICU. Her grandmother was having a rough time when we saw them though. The intense hospital life is taking a toll. Please say a prayer for her. Mira's hair has been shaved on both sides now, which made a sort of forlorn Mohawk look.
Teenager Mohammed was being discharged and we added him to our group heading back to Gaza this afternoon. They were happy to be assured of going home. It was my first time meeting him and was low-key as we just took care of logistics. His mother was bright and cheerful.
There were many other Palestinians from the West-Bank at the clinic today and it was fun to get to know some. I didn't see any of the Africans there today. 
God blessed our day and we were glad to be a part of what He is doing for these outcasts of society. Thanks to Messiah's love, they found caring hearts and hands this day in the midst of Israeli Tel Aviv.

Treatment for Waseem

Posted on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 20:00 by Alena D'Olimpio

Yesterday baby Waseem arrived from Gaza; today he is in the good care of the ICU staff at Wolfson hospital. The nurse assigned to take care of him said that he stable, but in definite need of surgery, and that the surgery should take place either tomorrow or a few days after that. As the doctor was doing his rounds he explained that Waseem suffers from coarctation, which means that his aorta, the artery that facilitates blood to the rest of the body, is narrowed. In addition to coarctation, he has also been diagnosed with Ventricular Septal Defect. This condition is an opening in Waseem's septum that allows highly oxygenated blood and poorly oxygenated blood to intermingle, which, if left untreated, will not allow his bloodstream to sustain the oxygen levels he needs. 

Even though Waseem needs urgent surgery, his grandmother seemed to be in good spirits because her grandson will be receiving the treatment he so desperately needs. She sat in the ICU next to Waseem for a few minutes when he was fast asleep and gently smiled at her newborn grandson.
In the midst of a bustling intensive care unit, Waseem's grandmother emanated peace because there is hope for this little baby from Gaza.