Mohammed's Heart Surgery

the Gaza Strip

Mohammed Now in the Lord's Arms

Posted on Fri, 09/26/2008 - 07:49 by Erica_Karmi
Mohammed Abu Shnin, in this world from March 14 - September 25, 2008

Yesterday while I was in the office I received a text message from Mohammed's family:

Hi Erica, baby Muhammad Abu Shnin died today.

So I called the family, and Mohammed's mother couldnt talk with me because she was very sad cryingso her sister talked to me even though she also was crying. They told me Mohammed died while in the hospital, and they then took him home.

I told them sorry for what happened, and how sad it was to hear this news, and now he is with God. And I told her to send my condolences to the family. We will be praying for Um Mohammed and his father--that God may give them peace.

They asked me to send some photos of Mohammed by e-mail, because his mother wants to see his face and remember him. So I did send them photos.

They thanked me for the help I gave them, and also thanked Alex and Donna for all of their help as well.

Our staff will meet Sunday morning in Jerusalem to remember Mohammed. Please join us in praying for the family.

Doctors Can Do Nothing

Posted on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel


Early this morning Alex and I returned to the Makassed Hospital on the Mt. of Olives to take Mohammed and his mother for the second opinion about his operability.

Mohammed's feeding tube hadn't been connected overnight, and we found his mother giving him water with a hand-held syringe. She continued this in the car as we made our way down from Jerusalem to the Schneider Children's Medical Center near Tel Aviv

We had an appointment with Dr. Birk, who is head of the cardiology department, for an echocardiogram. As we were processed into the cardiac area of the hospital, we noticed that each person who looked at yesterday's discharge report from Wolfson Hospital shook their heads as they read the long list of problems.

As the echo began, visible headshakes and long sighs were felt and seen around the room. In just a few minutes, Dr. Birk turned to us with a clear and distinct voice, "There is no repair possible for this child. I agree with the cardiologists at Wolfson."

She calmly continued, "There are borderline cases--and this is not one of them. Anything we would try would kill the child very quickly. Had it been an Israeli we would have done exactly the same thing. You need to be sure about that."

Through a translator, Dr. Birk shared with Mohammed's mother that the very best thing to be done for Mohammed was to go home and spend the rest of his time in his mother's arms and with his family. As we began to make arrangements to take Mohammed back to Gaza, Um Mohammed gently cried and held her son.

On our drive to the Gaza border, Um Mohammed made arrangements with her family to meet them by the ambulance which would drive them home with the oxygen he needed. Only after these calls were completed did Um Mohammed break into sobs. It was easy for me to cry with her as I thought of receiving the news a few months ago that my family and I had only days or weeks with my mother. I knew she was thinking of how many more times she might have to cuddle him, nurse him, look into his eyes, watch him sleep... all the things a mother holds dear to her heart when spending time with her child.

The Israeli staff at the border was very helpful in allowing quick entry to Um Mohammed and her dying son. They assured us the ambulance was waiting on the other side of the border and that she would have a short processing in the crossing terminal. Mohammed's mother gave us the only smile we had seen in many days when she thanked us for all our help. I gave her a last hug and we prayed one last time over Mohammed before she carried him back toward Gaza.

Throughout the morning, the words which were running through my mind were those in Isaiah 40:11 which say that, "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young." I have no doubt that, as promised, the Lord is near to this broken-hearted mother and family. It is my prayer that she will know Him and receive the fullness of the comfort He came to impart.

A late update from Alex:
I spoke to Um Mohammed just a few minutes ago. She explained that Mohammed had been returned to Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip to continue on oxygen. Given that I have small daughter of my own I may have done the same thing.

We still believe in miracles here in the Middle East and also believe in a merciful Father in Heaven. Let us ask the Lord how we might pray and may all the answers mean new peace for Mohammed and his family.


Holding Out Hope

Posted on Tue, 09/23/2008 - 01:00 by Alex_Pettett


Mohammed was dismissed today from Wolfson Medical Center after the doctors felt they had no space left for him. Their decision has been made to not operate. Wolfson's medical teams do take very difficult cases but did not feel they were in a position to help Mohammed as they believe the chances for a successful outcome are very low. We hold out some hope that tomorrow's appointment at Schneider hospital will reveal a new possibility for surgery.

The Shevet team spent most of today petitioning three different medical centers in Tel Aviv to hold Mohammed for one evening until his scheduled appointment at Schneider hospital. Donna and I drove to Tel Aviv not knowing where we would take Mohammed. We had an oxygen tank that was only half full (meaning it would last around an hour). Every door closed was closed profoundly until around 5 PM when Makassed Hospital on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem agreed to hold him for one evening. With oxygen and a prayer, Donna and I transported him from Wolfson Medical Center to Makassed. We'll be up around 5 AM to get him and take him down to his appointment at Schneider.
Pray that there is hope for Mohammed, strength for the Shevet team, and that the Lord would be glorified.

Donna adds:
When we left Wolfson, Mohammed was carried by his mother, and Alex carried the oxygen bottle.

Mohammed was content during the trip but when we arrived at the hospital became very fretful again. Because he must be fed by nasal feeding tube, it was our hope that when he arrived in the ICU and the feeding tube reconnected, he would be satisfied and settled again. The hospital kindly sent for food for Mohammed's mom as the time for the breaking of the fast occurred just as we neared our destination for their overnight stay. The doctor who met us there at the ER kindly accepted the baby and mother, but after they were in the ICU, told us how impossible this case was in her opinion.
It is clear to us that apart from God's miraculous healing touch, Mohammed will not live much longer. Will you please continue with us in prayer for God's perfect plan to be revealed for this tiny boy and his family?

A Visit from Israel's Basketball Team

Posted on Thu, 09/18/2008 - 01:00 by Keleigh_Glisson

The hospital wanted to send Mohammed back to Gaza yesterday, but after our staff begged them to allow him to stay at Wolfson until Tuesday, they relented. Tuesday he is scheduled to meet another pediatric cardiologist at another hospital to get a second opinion.

Today when I arrived at the hospital, the Israeli championship basketball team was surrounding Mohammed's bed. A couple of them let me snap a picture as his mother sat in the background beaming. Mohammed's condition remains the same. Please pray that the cardiologist on Tuesday will offer some hope for him.

Seeking A Second Opinion

Posted on Wed, 09/17/2008 - 01:00 by Ethan_Knapp


Yesterday we got the news that the cardiologists at Wolfson Hospital don't think Mohammed is operable because of the complexity of his heart problem, his fragile condition, and because he only has one lung. Wolfson hospital called us and told us that we should come take him home to Gaza because they can't do anything for him.

With some concerted effort we were able to get Mohammed an appointment for a second opinion at Schneider Children's Hospital, which is generally considered the best children's hospital in Israel. Schneider, however, couldn't admit him until next Tuesday because their cardiologist was away and they lacked space in their ward.
So it looked as if we would have to return Mohammed to Gaza and then bring him out again next week, which quite frankly frightened all of us, in light of the fact that he is still very tiny and eating only through a feeding tube. Through a providential series of timely encounters with doctors and other staff during our hospital visit today, we managed to get a very exceptional permission for Mohammed to remain in the ward at Wolfson until his scheduled appointment at Schneider next week. This was a big victory that people of other persuasions would probably characterize as luck.

This was my first visit to see Mohammed, and I was struck by how much better he is looking. He is still very tiny but has a vivacity that I haven't seen in any previous pictures of him. He remains a bit gaunt and his skin seems somewhat dry and leathery, but he was very responsive and squirmy, with big blue eyes and a weak cry that sort of resembled the bleat of a baby lamb. Follow this link to have a look and listen:

His mother was happy to meet Alex and me. We found her to be both gracious and engaging. She was also glad to hear that Mohammed was going to go for a second opinion and that they wouldn't be sent back to Gaza in the interim.

Please pray that Mohammed will continue to gain strength, as he clearly has over the past week, and also that the specialist doctor at Schneider Hospital will see an avenue to treat Mohammed's complex condition. 

Praying for Mohammed's Destiny

Posted on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 07:49 by Simantov_Allalouf

Today we went to the ICU unit looking for Mohammed, and we were surprised to find that he was out in the normal pediatric ward. Both Mohammed and his mom were looking much better than when we first picked them up on Wednesday last week. Mohammed has been on a feeding tube as well as intravenous which has begun to strengthen him. As we prayed for him and sang Arabic praise songs today he never ceased eye contact.

We are asking that you would continue to hold Mohamed up in prayer, as the prognosis is not good. The doctors at this point are not sure Mohamed is even operable. Mohamed has a complex heart and lung problem. But we are believing and asking the Lord for healing and to restore destiny into this little guys life. Our God is more than able. In spite of the doctor's report I was proclaiming life, asking Yeshua to heal and save by His shed blood on the cross.

Mohammed Still in Need of Our Prayers

Posted on Thu, 09/11/2008 - 07:49 by Erica_Karmi

Today we are thanking God that we were able to get Mohammed out of Gaza and bring him to WolfsonHospital in Israel. Yesterday, when we brought Mohammed to the hospital he was in very bad condition, but it seems today he is showing some signs of improvement. Today the doctors told us that if Mohammed continues to gain strength he will need more than one operation. His first operation could be as early as next week. For now, he remains in the ICU.

This afternoon, when his mother found out that her son will need more than one operation she began to cry. Initially she thought that all of his operations would take place next week. Once she understood that these operations would be months apart, that Mohammed would have one operation, have time to recover and then have another operation, she felt better.

As we left, we told her that we would be praying for her and for Mohammed. We also told her to trust the Lord first, that He will heal him and make him strong.

"The Baby's Not Going Home"

Posted on Wed, 09/10/2008 - 01:00 by Landa_Allalouf

A doctor phoning from Gaza first told us about baby Mohammed, who at age four months was in imminent danger of dying from heart failure and failure to thrive. It took 24 hours of persistent phone work, but at 9:30 this morning we were able to get baby Mohammed out of the Gaza Strip and bring him directly to the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel.

The first nurse to see Mohammed just kept shaking her head as she began checking his condition. She couldn't believe how tiny this baby is: about seven pounds. He kept gagging himself with his long fingers, probably explaining why he is so thin. A couple of times in the van and the hospital we saw him spitting up milk.

At first it appeared they would send Mohammed back to Gaza, since he looked so hopeless. But when the medical staff spoke with Dr. Tamir, the chief cardiologist at Wolfson, he said, Forget it, the baby's not going home. The mother didn't bring any clothing for herself or the baby, probably thinking she would be going home again today.

A nurse told us that Mohammed will have to gain weight and strength before he can have heart surgery. He is very frail and wasted; they'll probably have to insert an IV into his head since it is so hard to find a vein in his arms.

Please pray with us for Mohammed, for the funds needed to sponsor his surgery, and for his frightened mother. She didn't want anyone to see, but appeared to be wiping away tears with her head covering while the nurse was checking her baby. We prayed with her for Mohammed's life and salvation, and she seemed to appreciate it even though she didn't know what we were saying.