Gaza Children's Heart Surgery


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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

A Day Spent Caring

Posted on Sun, 02/25/2018 - 18:18 by Jesse Tilman

Today we found Basant and Jana in ICU, their escorts taking care of them with the nurses and doctors.

Basant was getting some repositioning and was voicing her complaints. Her guardian was worried and we encouraged her. She'll probably have some more time in ICU recovering.

 

We sat down with Jana and spent some time getting to know this family. She was doing well when we came by. She had been crying at times before, we heard. Now she mostly enjoyed watching movies and telling her grandmother "no." Later they moved her to the secondary ICU, its first residents in a while.

 

In the ward, Deia'a was cheerfully accepting all the presents that came by for Purim. We even got a hat for him. He's eating better these days and his grandmother is happy.

 

Abed and Hala were getting ready to leave. We spent some time with Abed and took some selfies together. He's feeling well and looking forward to getting back to university.

 

Hala we saw just before lunch and decided to return. Afterward we found that her and Abed's paperwork was ready and they could go just as soon as we had a vehicle to take them! Hala still has a virus and is scheduled to return for another try at the surgery in ten days. Till then they are able to rest at home.

 

We soon had everyone's luggage at the front door and a vehicle on the way. As we dropped someone off at the Shevet base, our families were able to say goodbye to Amar and Lindsey there. They coordinate a lot of the Gaza work and it was a blessing for them to get to see some of the people today.

Post-op Courses and Pre-op Treatments

Posted on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 21:14 by Noelle Chung
 
Post-op day #2, Basan is being cared for in the ICU. The surgery was done successfully, repairing the ventricular septum and the pulmonary valve. Although she was extubated yesterday, because of the small amount of pericardial effusion, she has to stay in the ICU one or two more days. Her mother is in peace believing that Basan will be soon recovered.
 
Jana received catheterization yesterday and underwent surgery today. Her mother kept calm till the end of the surgery. She explained to us how difficult it was for her and Jana to get a permission to come to Israel. The surgery was done well. She needs to be cared for in the ICU for the time being.
 
Seven year-old Hala with curly blond hair came to the hospital two days ago with our Gaza team. She is a bit shy and looks anxious, but her grandfather takes good care of her.
 
 
Her surgery was planned for today, but it has been delayed because she has fever. To find out the cause of the fever, an ultrasonogram for the kidneys and blood test for bacteria were done. The doctor said that the reason might be tonsillitis, and she will be treated with antibiotics for several days. 
 
We thank God who provides through many people’s hands what we need. Also thanks to our supporters who gladly give away their financial and prayerful support. 
 
"He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God." 2 Corinthians 9:10-11
 

Visiting and Clinic-ing

Posted on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 17:21 by Co-authored

Noelle Chung writes:

Eiyad who came with our van two days ago with oxygen saturation 56%, is now stable in the hospital. He is waiting for the surgery, but it is important to wait until his recent lung infection is completely healed. The doctor also decided to check a brain CT scan tomorrow, for any possible brain infection or other anomalies. His grandmother is also feeling okay, spending time conversing with other parents in the ward. 

Little Basan is operated today.
 
 
Her mother was bowing down on a mat praying. Tears were in her eyes. We could not say much to her because of the language barrier. However, we hope for God's mercy on Basan that the surgery will go well and she will have healthy childhood in coming years. 
 
Another catheterization is planned for Daia tomorrow, because of the mild aortic narrowing.
 
 
Nowadays, he seemed to be depressed, not wanting to eat or play or talk. Maybe long hospitalization and repetitive procedures have made him weary and worried. I asked next door for Abd to come to say hi to Daia everyday. 
 
Abd's hospital course is all good, and he is going to be discharged in a few days.
 
 
He is practicing his English, and helping us to communicate with Arabic parents. We are looking forward to his future after discharge. His father has become friends with our coworkers Yosef and Suhail. All of them smiled brightly. 
 
Jesse Tilman continues:
 
The clinic day was crowded as we found many West Bank families present as well. Some old friends and some new. We focused on the Gazans though.
 
 
Salma, a beautiful girl stuck close to her mother and wouldn't hold hands. They waited patiently as others pushed ahead of them in line. It's her first time to the hospital, so we tried to give them extra care.
 
 
Remas has been here a few times. She growing up and some of the staff recognized her and congratulated her. She's a little bit shy but is used to cameras. Her and the next two were on checkup echos.
 
 
Fayez is an energetic young guy just getting his help today, as the other kids.
 
 
His Mom was talkative and glad for a guiding hand.
 
Abed is an easy-going fellow with a playful personality.
 
 
I got to hold him a few times and view some artwork together. They got into the process and went step by step through the preliminary checks and then into the echo room.
 
Hala came after lunch for surgery admission today.
 
 
She was here a few weeks ago and got the recommendation from Dr. Sagi. With some fresh scabs on her nose, she looks ready to play rough, but just kept close to her father. They brought them in and began situating them in the ward.
 
Thank You Father God for Your loving hand in these young lives. May they remember that it was Messiah's love that made their healing possible.
 

Full Gaza Clinic Today!

Posted on Sun, 02/18/2018 - 19:23 by Co-authored

 

EMERGENCY GAZA RUN

Written by: Nate Geer

 

We were able to pick up another boy from Gaza today! Due to some miraculous meetings, better pre-planning, and a prepared Gazan Grandmother, the crossing from Gaza to Israel was relatively quick and easy. This was a huge blessing because unfortunately, 8 month old Eiyad was not in a good condition when we first saw him at the Arez crossing. When we assessed his vital signs to decide if he needed an ambulance, his blood oxygen was at 56%, this is severe hypoxia and dangerously close to causing permanent brain damage. 

However, praise the Lord, he responded well to the oxygen that we gave him and we made the decision to take him in our van.  Eiyad's heart has a condition called TOF that is actually a conglomeration of  several defects that can lead to episodes of turning blue and even fainting. Eiyad had two mild episodes on the way to the hospital. We were also told that he was not taking any medications but later discovered that he was on several to treat a recent case of pneumonia. Due to his rough condition we did not get to see very much of his personality on the drive. 

But I think he will be causing a ruckus when he gets better because the only time he giggled was when he managed to get poop all over the bed while the nurse was changing his diaper! He is now safe in the hospital with his doting Grandma. 

 

 

GAZA CLINIC UPDATE

Written By: Jesse Tilman

"Forbid them not to come unto me, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these."

 

Visiting the hospital today, we found a good size group from Gaza.

Daia, who we know, was spread eagled on his bed with other Gazans around. He didn't have much energy to play in the short time we saw him, but his cheer held up. We cajoled him a little bit and encouraged his mother/grandmother.

 

Next door was sleeping  Abd, whose father has spent a few nights with us. A nineteen year old, he's a bit out of the mold of our usual patients. It was good to finally see him, if not meet him.

 

Also next door was sleeping little Basmat. She's admitted for surgery soon.

 

Two children were able to return to Gaza today. Sarah and Mohammad Z. were privileged to be on the schedule to go home. 

Slow moving Sarah even got up and showed off her standing skills for us in the crib.

Mohammed Z. just slept and gave his mom a break.

We got them down to the border in good time and enjoyed a sunset on the way back. 

 

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