Mohammed's Heart Surgery


Mohammed's Surprise Admission For Surgery

Posted on Mon, 07/09/2012 - 22:26 by Donna_Petrel

This morning we received a phone call with the following surprising news: "Please bring Mohammed immediately to be admitted for surgery tomorrow the morning." Joy quickly overcame our shock at this turn-around, since just yesterday we were told that the surgeon needed to study the in-depth echo before confirming Thursday's tentative surgery appointment. We rushed upstairs to tell Mohammed's mother, and found her seated happily in the kitchen preparing for a large lunchtime meal of dolma. Within twenty minutes she was ready to leave for the hospital with her son. She is a wonderful mother, and was able to gather everything quickly that would make their stay in the hospital as comfortable as possible, and didn't begin to let her emotions surface until we were on the road. At that time she sat quietly beside her little son and I could tell by her stillness that the well of emotions was about to spill over. I held her hand for comfort as she cried quietly for a few minutes. She told me she'd spoken to her husband and that he is very happy, and was going to kill a calf today in preparation for his son's surgery. 

Soon her attention was turned again to Mohammed as he began to fret, having no fondness for car seats which separate him from his mother's lap. Balloons, bubbles and stuffed toys made the rest of the ride bearable until he fell asleep about ten minutes before we arrived. He was quite content through the beginning of his pre-op exam until he became a bit overwhelmed by an array of characters invited today by SACH (Save A Child's Heart), our Israeli partner organization. You can see why he was overwhelmed considering his bedside-view of the visitors!

Even so he was easily settled again until it was time for the blood specimens to be collected. It turned out to be very difficult to draw his blood, and took four "sticks" to get the needed specimens, and the IV cannula inserted.

This trauma was exhausting, and took a little time to get over. A visit to his friend Hani, who is recovering from last week's surgery, refocused Mohammed's attention, and his mother's as well.

The rest of the day was spent visiting Hani, or relaxing in the room assigned to Mohammed before his surgery date in the morning. The anesthesia department sent a doctor with consent forms for Mohammed's mother to sign. She was calm and peaceful as we left, though I suspect she will not sleep much tonight as she ponders yesterday's explanation of the difficulty of the procedure needed to repair Mohammed's heart. She knows we will be with her tomorrow to comfort and encourage her through the wait, praying and trusting God's perfect repair to come forth through the hands of the doctors. We trust the God of all compassion to work His healing.

Surgical Untangling for Mohammed's Heart

Posted on Sun, 07/08/2012 - 22:15 by Kristina Kayser

One month has come and gone since Mohammed first arrived in Israel. And the question on everyone's minds, particularly his mother's, is "When?" When will this precious boy's surgery be? Word from the hospital last Thursday brought us hope that the day is quickly approaching. The surgeon, Dr. Sasson, had requested further data that Mohammed's initial echocardiogram couldn't provide. Thus, a second echo was scheduled for today. 

Mohammed was given a mild sedative this afternoon in order to ensure a quiet and successful exam. Ruth, Natalie, and I then watched in amazement as Mohammed fought sleep for the next thirty minutes. No amount of cajoling would appease him. While we had initially been instructed not to feed him anything, consent was finally given for his mother to nurse him. Within seconds, he was sound asleep. Thank goodness, because a long and meticulous echo was about to commence. Dr. Tamir sat poised, probe in hand, like a conductor before a grand orchestra. He announced that this was serious business, for which he needed the greatest concentration. In the course of an hour, five doctors and two echo technicians scrupulously studied Mohammed's heart. At times, I laid my hand on his mother's shoulder. She seemed to be holding her breath. Perhaps she was thinking, "Why is it taking so long?" Towards the end, I began translating the doctor's report for her as her curiosity surfaced in a series of questions. Dr. Tamir concluded that Mohammed's case is quite complicated, with the primary diagnosis being TGA (Transposition of the Great Arteries). Further complications are due to a large VSD (hole in the heart's lower chambers) and severe stenosis (narrowing) of his pulmonary artery. To put it simply, the anatomy of his heart needs surgical untangling, patching, and redirecting of blood flow. The ultimate question for the cardiology team is now, "What is the best solution for this diagnosis?" There are three legitimate options for repair. The surgeon, however, won't know which option is best until he can look at Mohammed's heart in the OR, which may be as soon as this Thursday. Until then, every preparation will be made and every piece of data reviewed. Dr. Tamir shared honestly that the operation will be dangerous and that his situation is quite difficult. His mother accepted this news with courage and held her baby tight. A mother's heart instinctively knows when her child is in danger. She also knows that God is big and agreed with me that nothing is too difficult for Him! 

When I look at Mohammed, I see a beautiful infant with a dimpled smile that lights up the room. It's difficult to comprehend his life being threatened by an unseen "broken" heart. My only source of hope lies in the truth that God Himself fashioned Mohammed's heart and knit him together in his mother's womb (Psalms 33:15, 139:13). He also holds the answers to all our questions of "when," or "why," or "what?" With confidence in His love for this baby, I believe He will provide all of the wisdom and inspiration needed to restore Mohammed's heart. Truly, the Lord "does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles!" Job 5:9

Overnight in the Hospital for Fever and Virus

Posted on Tue, 06/12/2012 - 23:21 by Natalie Wisely

Mohammed has returned to Jerusalem after a quick emergency trip to the hospital. On Sunday, when he was at the hospital for a routine appointment, he had a slight fever and he was sent home with some eardrops. Monday night his temperature escalated again so we quickly brought him back to the hospital. The blood work done revealed that Mohammad has a virus, but not a bacterial infection. His temperature also returned to normal by morning. The hospital has once again released him back to us in Jerusalem with the instructions to simply keep him comfortable while the virus works its way out of his body. We were grateful to hear this should not be a serious situation, but continue to pray that he recovers quickly. We were able to cheer him up for a bit at the end of the visit by giving him a cookie covered in chocolate. Licking that thing clean brought a smile to his face, and ours!

Mohammed “Adorably Docile” At His First Appointment

Posted on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 22:15 by Donna_Petrel

Mohammed's mother has been anxious for today to come: her infant son's first assessment in Israel for repair of his heart defect. Mohammed was happy to have an outing, not realizing all the attention centered on him. Upon arrival to the hospital, we were asked to wait, so we made our way to the playground for a more pleasant resting place. At first Mohammed simply took in his surroundings, and was content to watch his friend Hani playing. After hearing his daddy's' voice during a phone call, he became more animated, and his mother was inspired to let him do a little exploring of the playground. Mohammed was delighted with the experience! 

When we were called inside for his assessment, Mohammed was adorably docile during all the preliminary tests. If he became a little unsettled, his mother's nearness quickly soothed him again, and overall he was sweetly compliant. He had a nap while waiting for his echocardiogram, and when it was his turn, he was calm during the examination.

Dr. Alona reports that his surgery should be uncomplicated for a TGA repair (transposition of the great arteries) with a VSD (ventricular septal defect). It's possible he will need a catheterization, but the final decision will be made following consultation among the cardiology staff.  

Mohammed was a tiny trooper during today's long wait and exams, and his mother remained thankful and inquisitive throughout. As I assisted them through the day, and sat with them while we waited and went through Mohammed's tests, the following verse from Isaiah came to my mind: "As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; and you will be comforted in Jerusalem." It is beautiful to see a child respond to the comforting of his mother, and just so, the God of all comfort extends the same care to us. It is this loving care we trust in for the healing of Mohammed's heart, and the fulfillment of his mother's prayers.

Welcoming Beautiful Mohammed!

Posted on Fri, 06/01/2012 - 00:06 by Donna_Petrel

It was my pleasure to greet six-month old Mohammed and his mother at the Amman airport yesterday when they arrived from Iraq. I noted right away how alert Mohammed is, and that he is quite taken with his new friend Hani, who, along with her mother, is also invited for heart surgery in Israel, and accompanied Mohammed and his mom on the plane. Even though he was too stimulated by his new surroundings to fall asleep right away, once he was laid on a bed in the apartment he fell asleep immediately.

This morning when we rose early to set out for the Jordan border, Mohammed was in a good humor, and he slept all the way there! When he awoke, he was delighted to play together with Hani at the customs terminals, where the officials moved us through quickly. 

The final half of today's journey was less enjoyable for Mohammed as he wanted to snuggle in his mother's arms, but had to remain safely tucked into a car seat instead. With each of us in turn entertaining him along the way, he endured the trip, and is now curiously surveying new faces and new sights at the Shevet house.

For the next few days Mohammed and his mother will be waiting with us until their first appointment with Wolfson's medical team next Monday. Please pray for Mohammed's whole family while you lift him up in prayer. The first night away from home was very emotional for his mother, who, with tear-filled eyes, expressed how much she already missed her home.

Bringing Baby Mohammed to Israel Urgently

Posted on Sun, 05/06/2012 - 22:39 by Jonathan Miles

Six-month-old Mohammed was first seen by our partner cardiologist Kirk Milhoan in northern Iraq shortly after his birth. Kirk found multiple defects on echocardiography and indicated that Mohammed needs surgery urgently. He also labeled this case high-risk.

We're grateful that our longtime partners at the Wolfson Medical Center have agreed to accept Mohammed, and we hope to have him in Israel by mid-May.