Omeed's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Always in Our Hearts

Posted on Tue, 10/10/2017 - 22:06 by Philippa Schaefer
This morning Omeed and his mother caught a flight to return home. 
We are very thankful to God that He made it possible that Omeed has come so quickly to Israel. Directly after seeing day light he came by an emergency flight; we brought him directly from the airport into the hospital and they began very quickly with the treatment.
Yesterday we had a beautiful, big farewell party and we talked about the difficult moments that have happened.
Omeed's mother was crying tears of relief, while she told us how happy and thankful she is for everything we did for her and her lovely child, through God's love.
God healed small Omeed and gave him enough strength for his long journey home. We pray this strength will continue to give him a wonderful and long life. We will always keep him in our hearts. 

Echo at Sheba

Posted on Tue, 10/03/2017 - 22:26 by Alexa Bigl

Omeed headed into Sheba today with his mom for a follow-up echocardiogram. He has been doing spectacularly at our house and we were excited to see how his heart was looking. Upon our arrival, we were brought almost straight away to the echo room. The technician began the exam and a couple of the cardiologist soon joined us to look over how everything was progressing. The echo looked fantastic and the cardiologist felt confident in saying Omeed's heart looks great and it appears he will live the rest of his life without further intervention being necessary. 

We then got an ECG and Omeed was weighed. In the week he has been back with us at our Jaffa house, Omeed has already gained 700 grams! The doctor was amazed this was even possible, but Omeed had some catching up to do and he is putting on the weight and growing in just the right ways. 
Our last step was getting a blood test drawn to determine if some of Omeed's medications could be decreased or even stopped. We are still waiting to get the results, but are excited about the high possibility of Omeed soon being on minimal medications. The doctors would like Omeed to remain under the care of our Shevet nurses for another week and if all looks well he can return to Kurdistan next week! What a miracle this sweet little baby is; God's hand of healing is powerfully over him. Thank you for your prayers thus far and please do continue lifting him and his mother up to the Heavenly Father. 

A Big Praise Report

Posted on Thu, 09/28/2017 - 23:13 by Alexa Bigl

We headed over to Sheba this morning with Omeed and his mom for his attending pediatrician/ICU doctor to check-up on how Omeed is doing. The doctor was in the middle of a procedure on another child when we first arrived, but after a short waiting time he saw us. After asking some question about how Omeed has been doing the past few days at our house, he did a physical examination. All looks well! The doctor was very pleased with Omeed's progress. We can clearly see Omeed is doing great; praise the Lord! He is eating and sleeping well, interacting socially very well, and we are extremely pleased with his recovery. 

Omeed with have a blood test and echo next week. Both will be important tests to determine how long Omeed will need to remain in Israel and give us insight into his medication needs for the future. 
Thank you for praying with us as Omeed continues on his path towards a healed heart. He and his mom are both so sweet and appreciate knowing there are people around the world praying for tiny Omeed; may the Lord's work come to complete fruition. 

Excited to Leave the Hospital

Posted on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 22:57 by Dayo Martin

Yesterday, there was a foreign object discovered in Omeed's neck that kept him from being discharged from the hospital. A CT scan was done today to determine what the object was. In the end it turned out that the object was just a blood clot in one of his arteries. He was put medication for the clot but the doctors said he was well enough to be discharged today. His mother was very excited to be leaving the hospital and is now settling in in our apartment here at Shevet.

We thank the Lord for his protection over Omeed! 

Omeed's Back and Forth Day

Posted on Sun, 09/24/2017 - 23:03 by Alexa Bigl

We received a very surprising call from Sheba Medical Center this morning. The head nurse in the cardiac wing was calling to let us know Omeed would be discharged back to our Jaffa house today! They were waiting for the doctor's final examination and report, but otherwise they were very excited little Omeed was doing so well. While waiting for final discharge papers to be drawn up the hospital staff asked Omeed and his mom to wait out by the echo clinic so the room could be cleaned for a new child being brought in. But it all turned out not to be the case. In the end, Omeed is back in his same room to stay at least one more night in the hospital. During the final examinations to ensure Omeed was ready for discharge a potential problem was discovered. It's a little blurry on specifics right now, but there seems to be a partial blockage in one of the arteries in Omeed's neck. Tomorrow, Omeed will need further testing to determine what is going on and why the blood flow in his neck is disrupted. So, Omeed will undergo a contrast CT in the morning. We hope and pray this test will answer questions. 

It was very difficult for Omeed's mom to experience such a swing in emotions today. From surprised joy to tired waiting to disappointment in learning there is a this set-back; and at the very least another night at the hospital is necessary. Tomorrow's test results could vary greatly, so please join us in praying for the best possible answer for what is going on with Omeed's artery. May he and his mother rest well tonight and may the Lord's healing hand be over little Omeed. 

Thanks to God!

Posted on Wed, 09/20/2017 - 22:14 by Coby van Wijhe

Omeed was awake when Ben and I saw him this morning. He looked bright and his eyes were focused on us. I gave him some milk and he took it very well. Mom looked rested and felt okay. I spoke to the doctor an he was very pleased with the progress.

Maybe tomorrow Omeed's extra feeding from the tube and IV will be stopped. Although he sounded like he had a little cough, the doctor told us the x-ray was good. His heart is strong and responding well to the new situation. Thanks to God!

A Big Step of Progress

Posted on Mon, 09/18/2017 - 23:02 by Alexa Bigl

Omeed has been extubated! When I arrived to Sheba Medical Center this morning Omeed's nurse and the ICU doctor were very happy to report Omeed's ventilator settings were extremely low and they were ready to extubate him.

About an hour later, I poked my head around the corner to see little Omeed breathing on his own, his eyes fluttering open.

The nurse had Mom set the chair right next to Omeed's bed so she could hold his hand and stroke his head as he finished waking up. When I entered the room I was so happy to look into his bright, brown eyes. He was blowing spit bubbles as he contentedly looked around; his mom happily smiling.

The medical team said Omeed could soon have some water and later this afternoon could start drinking milk. 

His echo and examinations of his heart are all looking very good. The doctors are very pleased with the surgical outcome thus far. We also got a report about the MRI Omeed underwent yesterday afternoon. There were some concerns for Omeed's brain due to the instability he experienced after his second surgery. The MRI showed there are some areas, especially on the left side of Omeed's brain, that could potentially be concerning. The doctors shared with us when they see this type of situation in very young babies, like Omeed, there is not too much reason to be concerned. Young babies bounce back with typically no symptoms or longterm effects when these problematic areas are seen on the MRI scans. So, they will continue monitoring Omeed closely to ensure his neurological status is good and Omeed will need to be follow-up throughout his childhood to make sure all remains well. 
It was wonderful to see Omeed progressing in his recovery. His little heart is doing so well and his oxygen is remaining high. God's healing hand is clearly over this tiny baby boy; it is so beautiful. And his mother is a joy. She was so happy today and encouraged to see her son taking such obvious steps forward! Thank you for your prayers as this journey continues for Omeed and his mother. 

Asking with a Thankful Heart

Posted on Thu, 09/14/2017 - 22:30 by Deborah Burke

**Update, September 17 **

The last couple of days where very intense for Omeed. We prayed a lot for him and were wondering how he was doing after his operation last Thursday. Lisa and I visited him and his mother this morning. The nurses were busy with him but we were able to see the doctor. Yesterday they closed his chest and the doctor was very pleased to see progress. Praise the Lord! Today or tomorrow they will try to extubate him. For this afternoon they had planned a MRI. Mom looked much better - she smiled and was having better sleep.

Thank the Lord for the progress! We pray now for him to fully recover.


It has been a few days since Omeed's first surgery and reports were that his left ventricle was much improved. So, today was the day for his major heart surgery.

Our team of 3 left headquarters at 6:45am as planned and arrived at Sheba Hospital at 7:30 as planned by Google. We found Omeed's mother sitting pensively in their room in the ICU. AT 8:15 the surgical team quietly appeared outside the room and then swung into gear like a well-oiled machine untangling tubes, preparing Omeed's bed to be transferred a relatively short walk across the corridor, and getting a consent form signed. At 8:30, Omeed was wheeled into the entrance to the OR and with waves of hands he was whisked down the corridor and the automatic doors closed.
Omeed's mother showed very little emotion during the next 6 hours of waiting. She was adamant that she not leave the waiting room so we brought her tea and water. She refused to be photographed which is very understandable so we shared family photos instead. Her family phoned often from Iraq to interrupt her resting but still she showed little emotion although seemed to appreciate the distractions. As lunchtime approached Omeed's mother was coaxed to leave the room and have lunch elsewhere in the unit. Soon after we reassumed our positions in the waiting room and at 2:15pm Omeed was wheeled out into the ICU. 
It was almost 1 hour later before we could speak with the surgeon who explained the difficulty of the surgery. There was the switching of the pulmonary artery from left to right, the aorta from right to left, the coronary artery was also switched and he had to repair what was described as an unusual anatomy. Omeed's heart was described as being one of the most unusual anatomies the surgeon has seen in his long career of over 1,000 paediatric cardiac surgeries. Due to some complications during surgery, Omeed's chest (sternum) has been left open to make it easier to manage any post-operative complications.  The surgeon is hoping to close the chest in 3 to 4 days. 
Omeed was in a stable condition when we left, but is in a fragile situation. So too is Omeed's mother reflecting her son's fragility, even being afraid to touch him, appearing to want to scoop him up in her arms but realizing it may compromise his life.
Everything possible has been/is being done for this little one. It is now our turn to raise up our voices in prayer to our great God with thankful hearts for what he has done, is doing and will do for Omeed and his family.
I am prompted by one of my Australian prayer partners to complete this blog with the following scripture from Philippians 4:6-7:
"Don't worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart. And God's peace, which is far beyond human understanding, will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Messiah."

Right On Track

Posted on Thu, 09/14/2017 - 00:12 by Lisa Smith

Coby and I set out early to get to Sheba today. We are so excited to say that Omeed gets his main surgery tomorrow. He is right on track. The doctor said that Omeed’s echocardiogram showed that the left side of his heart is strong enough to go ahead with the second surgery. When the surgeons move Omeed’s arteries to the correct position, the left side of his heart will be under more pressure. That is the way the heart should work but because Omeed has Transposition of the Great Arteries, the left side of his heart was not accustomed to being under so much pressure.

The other factor is that Omeed is older than a lot of children that get this surgery. According to the doctor, that plays a significant role in why it has taken a while for the left side of Omeed’s heart to be ready.

With this good news, the plan is for Omeed to go in to surgery early in the morning. The doctor was so kind and excited for us to get our translator on the phone so we could share this joyous news with Omeed’s mother. Of course we called our long-term volunteer, Alexa, immediately so she could give Omeed’s mom the update. We watched Omeed’s mothers face as she received the news. She quickly went from tentative to happy.

The other good news we received today is that Omeed is scheduled for his MRI on Sunday. While the doctor said it would be best to get the MRI before surgery, they could not work that out. MRI’s are very expensive so we are so grateful that Omeed will get his.

Please join us in prayer for this sweet child as he undergoes this life saving surgery tomorrow.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Post-Op and Doing Well

Posted on Mon, 09/11/2017 - 22:25 by Alexa Bigl

Today I walked into Omeed's ICU room to see his happy mother and sedated Omeed. As planned, Omeed remains intubated. He looked quite swollen today and we ask you to pray for this. He clearly had a very positive fluid balance and we are praying some interventions will help his system clear out the extra fluid over the coming days. His oxygen saturation and blood pressure were both good and have been so since he was stabilized after his surgery. 

Omeed had an echo this morning and the doctor had very good reports. His lungs are clearly getting plenty of blood now and the left ventricle is reacting well to the pulmonary banding. His heart is already gaining strength and the muscle wall is thickening in that left ventricle. This is exactly what we want to see and what Omeed's heart needed to do to prepare for the full repair. Due to the positive report for today, it looks like the team can bring up the date of Omeed's second surgery a bit. The doctor told us Omeed is on the surgical schedule for this Thursday to receive his complete repair! His mom was very pleased with the good news and happily smiled as she told her family over the phone. 
Tonight, Omeed's mom came back to our Jaffa house. It's her first time here; since we headed straight to Sheba from the airport on their first day in Israel. Omeed will remain intubated and sedated until Thursday, so we managed to convince her to have a night away from the hospital since Omeed will not need her. It is very good she can have Kurdish food, meet and hang out with the other moms, and have a sense of homeyness as she rests tonight in the house. Please join me in praying for her to be restored and feeling loved during her hours here. Tomorrow she will join our team and head back to Sheba where her friend, Zulaikha's mom, is anxiously awaiting her return.