Radhwan's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Second Chest Tube Removed

Posted on Mon, 07/27/2015 - 21:27 by Maureen Grimshaw

Today, Radhwan's condition was improved and he was able to be discharged from ICU with the chest drains removed.

As we arrived in the ward, we noticed that he was very relaxed and happy and even enjoyed playing with small toys. He is eating and drinking.

However, he developed a fever again and required blood cultures later this afternoon. Once the results are received, Radhwan will probably need further medications.

Please pray for peace for Radhwan and his mother as they continue to wait in the hospital during his recovery.

One of Radhwan's Chest Tubes Removed

Posted on Sun, 07/26/2015 - 21:15 by Emily Peck

Sweet Radhwan is still in the ICU, but he was able to have one of his chest tubes removed today. This is a huge blessing and means that the drainage is going better.

He looks more peaceful when he is sleeping, and you can see in his face that he feels a little better. His mother is also doing much better with the good news. She had a big smile on her face today which was a blessing for us to see after seeing her so worried and worn out.

Please continue to pray for Radhwan's recovery and that things would go smoothly.


Radhwan in ICU

Posted on Wed, 07/22/2015 - 22:11 by Naomi Wyatt
Radhwan is now in the ICU and seems to be doing much better after having the drainage from his lungs. He is able to sit up, smile and communicate. It was very precious playing "peek-a-boo" with him and seeing him happy! As soon as the fluid draining from his lungs reduces, he will be able to come out of the ICU unit. 
Radhwan's mother is doing much better, too. She is much calmer today and is more relaxed. Although she is tired, she is at peace; this is certainly an answer to prayer. We were able to sit with Radhwan this afternoon, while she went out for about an hour to make some phone calls and have a break. 
Maureen, Austin. and I met Anna at the hospital. She, too, was very tired, having slept on a chair over night. Her stay over night was really appreciated. 
We left Radhwan with his mother and look forward to seeing how he is progressing tomorrow. Please continue to pray for him. 

Radhwan to Receive Chest Tube

Posted on Tue, 07/21/2015 - 23:51 by Alexa Bigl

After an x ray determined the extent of fluid around Radhwan’s right lung, the decision to place a chest tube was confirmed. Since Radhwan only has his right lung currently working because of his collapsed left lung, it is important for that good lung to be able to work to its full capacity. Placing the chest tube will allow the fluid to drain and his lung to be able to fully expand without the pressure from that fluid.  



Radhwan was brought to the ICU for the tube placement and will remain there overnight with intentions of moving him back to the children’s ward tomorrow. The time in the ICU will allow closer monitoring and more personalized care for him while he adjusts to having the tube and the fluid drains.  

Two different groups went to the hospital today to support Radhwan’s mother. Anna will stay overnight taking shifts staying with Radwan to allow Mom to sleep. She greatly appreciates having others around and enjoyed having Yad and Yad’s mother visit for a while.  



We gathered tonight to pray for Radhwan and his mother, and it was a meaningful and wonderful way to finish our time together during the evening meal. We hope that you will join us to pray for this young man.



Disappointment from Radhwan’s Mother

Posted on Sun, 07/19/2015 - 22:06 by Rebekah Yang
When we entered the Children Ward, I saw Radhwan's mother sitting on the bed and holding Radwan on her arm. It seemed that she was very upset and worried for some reason.
I kissed both her and Radhwan to say hello. It was then that she told me what had happened in the morning. There were a few doctors who came over to check his condition; they told her that his condition might be good enough for him to return to Jerusalem with us today. However, his mother’s happiness did not last for too long. Before the doctor made the final decision to discharge him, Radhwan went in for another cardio echo. The result showed that he has some fluid around his heart, thus he must be under close observation at the hospital. 
When we were planning to leave the hospital, Radhwan became sweaty and short of breath, and his body temperature was 38.4 Celsius (101.1 Farenheit). Right now he is still with an oxygen tube under his nose and has a monitor keeping watch of his blood-oxygen level. 
Please join us in this prayer - Dear Heavenly Father, may Your healing hands touch Radhwan’s body, and release all of his discomfort and help him recover soon. We also pray for Radhwan's mother's heart- may Jesus’ peace be with her. Take away all the anxiety and worry from her. Amen.

Radhwan in Children's Ward with Friends

Posted on Fri, 07/17/2015 - 13:44 by Madison Fry

Today Radhwan was transferred out of the Secondary ICU into the Children's Ward. He was doing well and looked very happy snuggling with his mother for most of the day.

Thanks to God for his provision, his grace, and his love for taking such good care of Radhwan and his mother. He is eating and drinking now and the only medical tubes still attached to him are the oxygen lines under his nose to help support his lung.

Given the language barriers with the medical staff, without a translator it can be very difficult. Being close to each other can help ease that. Both Radhwan and his mother are very happy to be placed in a room less than five feet away from Andi and Yad. This has provided families with close contact and constant communication; something incredibly important for all of the families. 

As of now there are no families here in Jerusalem, and we look forward to having Radhwan and the rest of them back soon.

Radhwan's Strength

Posted on Tue, 07/14/2015 - 22:30 by Madison Fry

Our group arrived at Wolfson at 7am and headed straight to the Pre-Op to find Matti’s father. After Matti was sent into surgery, our group headed upstairs to the Children’s Ward to find Radhwan and Andi’s mothers. We had a blessed little picnic today at the playground area and were able to break the tension with laughter and old pictures.

Around 11 am, Radhwan was extubated and given a pain medication, but no sedatives. The nurses explained they had already given him one in the morning and they hoped he would fall asleep on his own as soon as he is able. Soon after, the central line in his neck began bleeding so the nurses also changed his dressings. After all the commotion Radhwan was very upset and crying. His mother was allowed to give him water through a syringe to calm him down and he drank about three small cups of water. We also sang to him; his mother in Kurdish and I in English. Due to the language barrier I was not able to understand her words, but it was apparent it was a lullaby. His distress affected us all and ironically enough the only song that came to my mind was two verses of It is Well with My Soul by Horatio Spafford. Somewhere between the water and the singing he calmed down and fell asleep.

After lunch Radhwan was awake and in pain once more, by this time his vitals were stronger and the doctors allowed his mother to give him a bottle of milk. He is gaining strength by the hour and has already changed color before our eyes. We are extremely blessed to be a part of these days in Radhwan’s life.

"You Make Beautiful Things"

Posted on Mon, 07/13/2015 - 21:50 by Sophie H.

Today was the second day after Radhwan's surgery and I had the chance to see him and spent some time with him. He looks so beautiful, this is a new life start! Rejoice! Rejoice with his family together!

Doctors Raqueli said that they are happy with his progress and Radhwan will probably be extubated tomorrow. He is doing well. His mother is little bit worried about him, but when I translated to her what the doctor said, she looked relieved. Let's keep this precious life in our prayers!

Radhwan's mother became supportive to Andy's mother for this special day, which is also a painful and hard day! Because of their same satiation, these two mothers totally understand each other and support each other and share the joy and sorrow together. Bless them in Jesus name, the real comforter and healer will visit them and take care them!

After Andi's surgery we had late lunch together, but cold food with so much love together made our day more beautiful! I had to say we had a wonderful day! 


"You Make Beautiful Things." This song reminds me, God makes beautiful things for us today! Let 's give thanks to Him, only He deserves all of our praise!

Grace for a New Day

Posted on Sun, 07/12/2015 - 22:48 by Lindsay Martin

The day started off with a beautiful sunrise and a much needed reminder that God is with us and He will go before us. We knew that Radhwan’s surgery would be complicated and everyone at Shevet has been lifting him up in prayer. As we headed to the hospital, we hoped we would arrive in time to see Radhwan wheeled into the pre-op room, but we had just missed them. So, we quickly headed downstairs to pre-op and eagerly greeted Radhwan and his mother. She welcomed us with open arms and many kisses.

Radhwan seemed a little uncomfortable in this new environment but was easily entertained by two small toy cars that he drove all around the room. As we’ve seen several times since he arrived, he adores his mother. So often I will catch him grabbing her around the neck and squeezing his face next to hers. All he wants is to be by her side.

As Radhwan was being wheeled into the operating room, both him and his mom were at peace. We headed back to the children’s ward with Radhwan’s mother so she could join Yad and his mother while she waited. Soon, we all headed to the playground where the mothers like to gather because they can use the free internet to call their families as they receive updates.

One thing I love to see is how these women can so quickly turn strangers into friends. Even though Radhwan has only been at the hospital for two days, his mother has already become close friends with several of the families in the children’s ward. They often become a support system for each other, asking how each other’s children are doing. Several times throughout the day, one of the mothers was asking Radhwan’s mother how he was doing. It’s precious to see how much they treat each other like family.

Yad’s mother was also a great support to Radhwan’s mother today. They often would lay down together on a blanket outside and rest. Which is encouraging to see because often the mothers are so anxious they can find it hard to sleep at night. Even though Radhwan and Yad’s mothers speak different dialects of Kurdish, they understand each other very well. At one point, they were both showing us how to write the names of several volunteers at Shevet in the Kurdish script. It was fun to see them compare the writing between the Behdini and Sorani dialects.

As we continued to wait for news of Radhwan’s surgery, we received two unexpected pieces of good news. First, Yad was doing well and would be discharged from the hospital today. Secondly, Andi was on the schedule for surgery tomorrow and would be admitted to the hospital shortly. You can read more about their day by clicking on the links above. When I shared this news with Radhwan’s mother, she was very excited and said we would be having a hafla hafla (party party) at the hospital.

Radhwan’s surgery finished around 3 pm, but we had to wait another two and half hours before his mother could see him in the ICU. Throughout the day, Radhwan’s mother had been very strong, not even shedding a single tear, but when she heard the news that his surgery was complete and she was waiting to see him, she released all her pent up emotions as she let the tears fall freely. These moments are often the most precious ones that we get to share with the families. The fact that they allow us to be involved such an important moment of the child’s life and that we can be their shoulder to cry on, is not something we take for granted. It is a beautiful gift.

When Radhwan’s mother was finally able to see her beautiful son, it was a sweet reunion. After waiting so long, she could finally see his face again. As she walked out of the ICU after seeing Radhwan, she looked at me and said “galek jwana,” which means very beautiful in Kurdish. Her heart was at peace knowing his heart was at peace.

When I had the opportunity to join her in the ICU, I took a look at his feet and thought of how many times she has shown us his blue feet, worrying about his low oxygen levels. Now his blue feet are a beautiful shade of red.

The doctors said they were able to do a full repair on his heart but they will be observing him very carefully over the next few days to see whether or not he will need a second surgery. We are so thankful that God has poured out His grace on Radhwan for a new day.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

Radhwan Admitted for Surgery

Posted on Fri, 07/10/2015 - 23:42 by Ruth Zellweger

Radhwan's mother has shown great patience and grace over these past weeks with us. She arrived before any of the other families who are currently in Israel, but had to see how two children already underwent heart surgery while Radhwan was still waiting. But yesterday we were able to tell her the date for Radhwan's surgery, which is scheduled for early Sunday morning. Because of the upcoming Shabbat, we already admitted him today at Wolfson Hospital.

Before Madison and I left, several of us volunteers gathered in the courtyard to send mother and son off by prayer. It was a sunny and beautiful morning. When we arrived at the hospital, the nurse showed us his room and assigned bed and there we had a big surprise waiting: Radhwan's older friend Yad, who had just been moved from the ICU to the ward this morning. The two mothers were overjoyed to share a room together, since they had become very good friends these past weeks.

Soon after our arrival the necessary checks started, which brought many tears to little Radhwan. Especially the blood test was very painful, but his mother found ways to calm him down. After we had made sure that they had settled in well, we bid farewell.

Please pray for precious Radhwan, who will be undergoing a major surgery on Sunday. Both he and his mother have become beloved members of our Shevet family. This is very obvious as many of our volunteers would love to support Radhwan and his mother during their time at the hospital. Several have requested to be there on his surgery day, or to do the follow-up visits. May God be glorified in Radhwan's life.