Hemn's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Hemn's Surgery Day

Posted on Thu, 04/02/2015 - 21:50 by Kyle Carlson

Yesterday Hemn had surgery to correct his heart defect called “Tricuspid Atresia.” His surgery went very well, and he is recovery nicely. Here is a video blog about his monumental day yesterday.

Today, Hemn was extubated. He responded well and gave us his classic “thumbs-up” hand signal indicating that all is well. He is such a special young, man and we are excited he is recovering so well. Nevertheless, please continue to pray for him and his continued improvement. 

Hemn's Thriving Heart

Posted on Wed, 04/01/2015 - 22:25 by Kyle Carlson

Today, Hemn had surgery to complete the second portion of a two-step repair for his heart defect, called “Tricuspid Atresia.” He had his first surgery seven years ago and returned to Israel for his second surgery. When we joined him in the OR prep room this morning, he was very calm and seemingly excited for his surgery to begin. We even had a chance to play a game of UNO!


After seven hours, Hemn finally emerged from the surgery room. His surgery went very well, and he is currently recovering in the ICU at Wolfson Hospital.

We are producing a video blog that will give you a unique glimpse into the day. This will be available tomorrow.

Hemn Admitted

Posted on Tue, 03/31/2015 - 20:07 by Kyle Carlson

Today Hemn was admitted to Wolfson Hospital in preparation for his surgery tomorrow. He is now on an IV line in order to get ready for tomorrow. He and his father are settled in and doing well. The anticipation is building as they have both been looking forward to this day for quite some time. Please join us in prayer for Hemn!

Happy Hemn

Posted on Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:32 by Jesse Tilman

Hemn was happily discharged from the hospital yesterday. He and his Dad were ready and rearing to go. They jumped up as soon as they heard we were there for them. Of course we first had to finalize things up with the hospital, and visit Hiba and her mother for a bit. But soon we were able to head back to Jerusalem with them. Hemn complained constantly of being cold, so we all suffered for him and turned the heat up for a while. It was a cozy ride home.

Hemn Admitted

Posted on Sun, 03/22/2015 - 21:59 by Rebekah Yang

Today at noontime, Hemn did not eat his lunch and went back to his room, complaining he was not feeling well. I found out he felt cold and was reddish in the face, so I gave him a second vital sign assessment for the day. He had a high temperature, so I phoned Wolfson Hospital, and the doctor suggested that we bring Hemn to the hospital for further examination.

When we reached the hospital's children's ward, the nurse took Hemn's temperature again. It was not as high any more; however, the doctor decided to admit him to find out what had caused his fever. After we saw Hemn was settled into the ward, Jesse and I return to Jerusalem.

Please pray that Hemn will not get any bacterial infection and that he can be scheduled for his heart surgery soon.

Hemn Discharged

Posted on Thu, 02/19/2015 - 22:42 by Brian Mace

In view of threats of snow in Jerusalem this evening, and the risk of road closures into Jerusalem this afternoon, Ruth and I left very early to take sweet Roween for a quick doctor's check at Wolfson. As Hemn was to be imminently discharged, we waited for clearance to leave with him, and departed just before lunch (also with Roween), arriving without hold-up at Shevet base in good time.

Whilst at Wolfson Hospital we also visited Arwa, who was about to have another echo; and Said from Gaza, who is being treated in a side ward for an infection.

Hemn had been in Wolfson for a catheterization and will wait at Shevet until his surgery can be scheduled.

Hemn’s Catheterization Commenced

Posted on Wed, 02/18/2015 - 23:21 by Jesse Tilman

Hemn’s catheterization commenced around 11 this morning. Our group from the base arrived at about 10:30 and then we spread out to attend to all our patients. I joined Hemn’s father upstairs in the main building outside the cath ward. He was escorted to a waiting area where we discussed the day’s events. He showed us some pictures he had taken and we admired one he took with the doctor in the operating room.

Throughout the next few hours, we occasionally headed outside to the smoking area. He told me about his work with the Kurdish fighting forces and how he was taking time away to be here for his son. Also waiting for him are his two other sons and three daughters. We looked through a family album on his phone together of brightly dressed and stylish Kurds.

After two hours, they said Hemn would be out soon. We paced, sat, stood, and talked. Squatting together on the ground, Kurdish style, brought us some comfort. We watched the red light turn on outside the cath room when the sliding doors opened to allow hospital staff into the restricted area. About forty minutes later, the yellow light next to it also came on and we hoped he would be out soon. Then it turned off. A little while later it came on again, keeping our expectation. Around 2 pm, Hemn finally came out and we went in to see him.

He stayed a little while in the waiting room there before we all headed over to the children’s ward. He was already moving around and waking up a bit. After getting situated there, we watched as he continued to wake up. He gave us a thumbs up and a smile. A little later he spoke a few ragged words to his father asking for water. Soon he could drink, although the nurse asked him not to move very much until later tonight. His father listened intently to the instructions, making sure Hemn heard them twice.

The doctor told us that they spent the added time in the cath repairing some of the collateral arteries. The operation went well, and they are planning for his surgery in the future. At this time they are saying the surgery waiting list is long and backlogged for two months! May God grow their abilities and bless this family. Thank God for a good day and His love for Hemn!

Hemn Admitted for Catheterization

Posted on Tue, 02/17/2015 - 19:58 by Kristina Kayser

I first met Hemn and his father two years ago at a heart screening in Iraqi Kurdistan. I distinctly remember him, then an eleven-year-old boy, walking confidently into the exam room and shaking everyone's hand. I am happy to say that he is still a very sweet and polite young man, and it is a joy to see him and his father again. 

Since their arrival on Sunday night, Hemn's father has been anxious about his son's length of treatment in Israel. This is due to the fact that he is a Pershmerga soldier fighting on the front lines and was only given one month leave of absence. Fearing the consequences of a later return, he has been hoping that Hemn's surgery will be scheduled soon. And this morning, we received good news that brought Hemn one step closer to his operation and his father great relief.

Dr. Alona invited Hemn to be admitted to Wolfson today for a cardiac catheterization tomorrow. This diagnostic procedure will provide a medical "blueprint" of his heart to aid the cardiology team in planning the best repair. Hemn, his father, and I had a peaceful drive to Tel Aviv talking about our homes and families. Hemn told me with a big smile that he loves soccer, especially Barcelona's team. 

The admission process went smoothly, and Hemn was the perfect patient, making the doctor's work a piece of cake. He and his father were also happy to see our friend Brian at the hospital and took a picture while waiting for their room. The catheterization is set for tomorrow morning. Would you please pray that the doctors will obtain the necessary information and that God will give Hemn and his father peace. 

A Brave New Friend

Posted on Mon, 02/16/2015 - 22:38 by Konrad Wiedmer

This morning Ruth, Miriam, and I took two families to their first examinations at Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv. One of them was 13-year-old Hemn and his father from Kurdistan.

They arrived yesterday evening, and I already know that they will definitely enrich our community during the time they will spend in Israel. This sympathetic boy already had an open heart surgery in 2007 here in Israel, so this visit here is hopefully the end of his limitations and the beginning of a new life! Because our God is the beginner of every life, he is also in charge of changing lives. We want to trust that the Lord will change and improves Hemn’s health in the coming weeks, as Exodus 15:26 says:  “I am the Lord who heals you”.

After our daily morning worship, we drove to the hospital, and not too many minutes after we arrived, Hemn was the first of our two children who was called to get ready for several tests. In the morning, the nurses tested his oxygen, temperature, blood pressure, height, and weight. They also did an EKG and had to take some blood samples.

In the afternoon, after Hemn, his father, and I had lunch in the cafeteria, we went to the echo department where both father and son had to undergo a PPD in order to test if they have tuberculosis or not. Afterward, it was time for Hemn’s first echo.

Doctor Alona took a lot of time to check every single detail, and the result was that brave Hemn needs a catheterization (cath) before he can have surgery in order to clarify the heart condition. Hopefully, his final heart surgery can be done soon after the cath.

During all those investigations, the young teenager showed great bravery, even though sometimes we could see that he was not comfortable.

Today, I was able to experience the warmness and passion the nurses’ show to every patient, wherever they may come from. They were so friendly to Hemn and were captured by his kind character.

His shy smile cheered all of us up, and I am really thankful for the amazing day I had with these two lovely individuals from Kurdistan.

I had the chance to play and spend time with Hemn the whole day, which was amazing. He was very respectful to the nurses and did everything they wanted him to do without any doubts or complaints. Also, he likes being photographed and got more excited about it during the day.


Please pray for him, his dad, and his whole family back in Kurdistan. We also found out today that he has conjunctivitis, so he has to take eye-drops daily. What could be better than interceding for this boy and his father? Thank you all for joining us in that!

Coming Soon

Posted on Wed, 12/31/2014 - 16:50 by Sarah Powell

Hemn is a 13-year-old young man from Kurdistan in northern Iraq. He was born with Tricuspid Atresia, which means that the valve between the right atrium and the right ventricle of his heart is closed. This results in less than the normal amount of blood being able to go to the lungs to receive oxygen. Because his body does not receive enough oxygen, he is not able to have as much physical activity as normal children his age without becoming severely short of breath. He was in Israel once before for treatment way back in 2007. We now hope to have him here again soon to finish the treatment process.