Rasan 's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Mother and Child At Peace

Posted on Wed, 09/24/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel
I found Rasan today peacefully sleeping in the intermediate ICU where he had been moved shortly before I arrived. His mother was feeling much calmer and we had a very pleasant visit as Rasan rested beside us.

She shared that Rasan will remain on IV fluids for the next four days before the feeding tube is used for nourishing him, since doctors must be certain there is no infection from the procedure. Then it is hoped that he can begin taking in what he needs from the feeding tube.

As we talked about the past three months which she and Rasan have spent in Israel, she acknowledged that there were some very difficult times. However, she talked with tears in her eyes about the family she feels she has here now because of all the people she has met who have helped and cared for her. She was thanking God for this, and so was I. These relationships are precious and we do not take them for granted. The love which flows among our hearts in the good times and the bad are what help us be the available vessels we believe God sent us here to be.

Please keep praying for Rasan and his mother as the days go by, and his healing progresses.

Feeding Tube Successfully Placed

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

I went to visit Rasan at Tel HaShomer hospital with the new American volunteers, Linda and Mary.

Rasan's surgery today was successful. With God's help, the doctors didn't need to change the location of the heart pacemaker as they were planning to do. They put a feeding tube directly to his stomach, without any cardiac intervention. He awoke after surgery, crying a little bit.

His mother is so psychologically tired that she burst into tears as soon as we arrived. She was even too tired to speak English. I knelt on the floor beside her to hug her continuously, kissing her on the head, crying with her, and telling her that she had the right to cry--that she didn't need to say anything at all.

While Linda and Mary were rubbing Rasan's mom's shoulders, I got permission to go inside the ICU to see Rasan doing well.

By the time we left the hospital, Rasan's mother was doing better. She needs prayer because she has been in the hospital for about three months. I've personally experienced being in the hospital for a long time in a foreign country, with no encouragement from family members. We are doing our best to let her feel that we are her family here. And she said that we are.

Pacemaker To Be Moved Tomorrow

Posted on Mon, 09/22/2008 - 01:00 by Donna_Petrel

Rasan was doing much better today and shared many smiles with us during our visit with him. When we arrived, the blood test and paperwork had just been completed for his minor surgery scheduled for tomorrow, so his mother was a little anxious in anticipation of this. The surgery will involve moving the pacemaker over just a little bit, in hopes this will correct the difficulty Rasan has had keeping nourishment down. Besides this, a change will be made in his feeding tube so that it will be placed in his side. It is hoped that Rasan will soon be able to eat again on his own, so this tube will be temporary.

Please pray for Rasan and his mother during the procedure tomorrow. We will be with them during the surgery and follow up with you afterwards.

Tests Explore Cause of Vomiting

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

Today was my first opportunity to meet Rasan and his mother at Tel HaShomer Hospital. Little Rasan is still being fed with a nasal tube as doctors do testing to find the cause of vomiting. Today a test was done on his stomach, and he had an EEG. The results should be available tomorrow. There is a possibility that the medication being given him to help his urination flow is causing the problem, but even though this medication was discontinued three days ago, there was still a lot of vomiting last night.

Rasan's mother continues to give Rasan little drops of formula with a syringe on his pacifier as he is given the bulk of his food via the feeding tube. She shared with me today that she is not able to hold him as much as she would like because of this vomiting, which is difficult for her. We can pray that soon she will be able to cuddle her son again.

I was thankful that she shares a room with a baby and his mother from Gaza who are also dealing with a feeding tube and trying to discover the cause of digestive problems. These mothers understand each other and are able to "be there" for one another when one needs to leave the room or has a hard time with her little one.


Alaa's mother was also with us today during most of my visit, and was, I believe, comforted in being able to help with Rasan during the course of the afternoon. I was thankful that she finds respite in the company of Rasan's room from her many hours in the ICU with Alaa.

Please pray that healing will come to Rasan and the problems preventing his return to Iraq will be no more. Pray for God's comfort and strength for Rasan's mother as she continues to care for her precious son.

Vomiting and Fluid Retention

Posted on Mon, 09/15/2008 - 01:00 by Cristiano

We visited Rasan this morning, and we talked a bit with his mother. She told us that he feels a little better, but he still has problems with his stomach, causing him to vomit any time he has food in his stomach. In addition, his fluid retention continues to fluctuate from day to day.

As I looked at this poor little child, I thought it is impossible to remain indifferent. He is clearly suffering, but in his struggle for life it is obvious that he is supported by a strong mother who is able to face difficulties. A nurse informed us that the doctors suspect an infection in his spleen or liver. They are going to do ultrasounds to determine this.

Please pray that Rasan will begin to feel better, and that his weight would stabilize. Also, please pray for this weak child to overcome the other difficulties he continues to face.

Rasan Still Battling Complications

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

Rasan seemed to be improving slowly until this morning, when his mother woke up and noticed that his face seemed fat. The doctors noticed that he had gained some weight due to fluid retention. They will ask a cardiologist to look at him to determine the next course of action.

While we were visiting this afternoon a speech/feeding specialist came by to see if she could help Rasan hold down food. Currently he is being fed by a feeding tube. They attempted to give him some milk, but he immediately threw it up.

In addition to these complications, Rasan lost some neurological functions just over a week ago. The doctors attributed this to the anesthetics that he was on after his surgery. This week Rasan is showing signs of improvement in this area. He was able to grab his mothers finger when she touched the palm of his hand and he was able to give us a quick smile as a friend held him in her arms and sang him a song.

Rasans mother seems to be in high spirits, however a close friend said that this was just her way of coping. She has been in the hospital for over two months. She has sat by her sons side while on the brink of death and stayed with him through his slow recovery. He remains in critical condition while she tries to have strength.

At one point in the afternoon we walked from Rasans room up to the ICU to visit Alaa. On the way we were stopped numerous times along the way by the parents of other patients, hospital staff and random visitors. It seems as if she has built a community of people to surround her. She told me that she has been called upon at all hours of the day to translate from English to Arabic or English to Kurdish. It was obviousy to me that the hospital staff has really come to love and appreciate her.

Please pray for Rasans recovery and his mothers emotional well-being while they continue their stay in the hospital.


Rasan Improving Slowly

Posted on Tue, 08/26/2008 - 07:50 by James_Peterhoff

It has been an eventful week for Rasan with much going on. When we last saw Rasan on Thursday, his mom was in tears as we heard that the doctors were worried because of what his echocardiogram seemed to reveal. They had some trouble seeing whether the (VSD) hole in his heart had remained closed or if the patch that was previously put in to close the VSD had reopened.

Because of this, the doctors felt they needed a better look at his heart. This prompted the doctors to do another catheterization. Apparently, after the catheterization the doctors were able to confirm that the surgery from a few weeks ago was a success and that Rasan's hole was patched up adequately. This completely changed Rasans mothers mood. We had yet to see her this joyful because she has been constantly worried about her sons condition.

While Rasan's surgery may have been a success there are times that it still looks hard for him to breathe and he is still on oxygen (another echocardiogram scheduled for Sunday may reveal the cause of this). In addition to his low oxygen level Rasan has had a constant fever for the last couple of weeks that he just can't seem to shake. Please continue to pray that he remains nourished, that his fever would leave him, and that his mom would keep the patient and joyful attitude that she exhibited when we left.

Rasan Moved to Secondary ICU

Posted on Wed, 08/13/2008 - 07:50 by James_Peterhoff

I didn't know what to expect upon visiting Rasan and his mother in the hospital. I had heard some stories about him and what his situation has been. The numerous surgeries and the sleepless nights for his mother are two examples. When I arrived with some of the Shevet staff along with another volunteer, we searched to find where Rasan and his mother were staying. After some quick research, it was revealed that he was still in the ICU.

The nurses informed us that Rasan had been moved from the extensive ICU to the secondary ICU. This meant that his condition was improving. We began to talk to his mother who was beaming and smiling as her baby was out of his coma with his chest closed up. While she was smiling, she was also still worried. A few days ago Rasan had yet another surgery in order to install a pacemaker into his tiny little chest. Apparently this little trooper did quite well and is continuing in his recovery.

As we moved into his room to take some pictures, one thing caught my attention immediately, Rasans eyes were wide-open. He was a little cranky as his mother opened up his shirt to reveal the scar that marks his body almost entirely. We ask that you please continue to lift this adorable little boy up along with his mother. Pray that he continues to recover from all the obstacles that he has faced and that she continues to endure.

Rasan Continuing to Improve

Posted on Mon, 08/04/2008 - 07:50 by Gigi

Rasan is in a stable condition and his heart is doing much better. The doctors closed her chest on Saturday, however, he was reconnected to an external pacemaker. He is still in a medically induced coma and will need a breathing tube for a few more days. His mother is having peace and thanking the Lord for what He is doing with them. Thank you for your prayers as they are needed.

Rasan's Heart Beating Without Pacemaker, but Remains in Critical Condition

Posted on Fri, 08/01/2008 - 07:50 by Gigi

I was able to visit Rasan, his mother, and Amy today at the hospital. When I arrived the doctor was in the middle of updating Rasan's mother on his condition. If you look closely to the picture, you can see that Rasans chest remains open. The doctor refused to give us any assurance regarding his condition. His heart is now beating on its own without the assistance of a pacemaker, but he is still in need of artificial adrenaline in order for his heartbeat to be strong enough to supply an efficient amount of blood to his body. His mother remains very emotional. As we sat with the doctor she continually asked the same questions over and over as if she couldnt comprehend how Rasans condition has deteriorated to this state. Understandably, she is afraid to be alone, so Amy has volunteered to sleep at the hospital with her for the next few days. Before leaving the doctor informed us that Rasan remains in critical, but stable condition. She said that they would know more about the future condition of his heart on Sunday. Please continue to pray for Rasans recovery. Also remember to pray for Rasans mother and Amy as she attempts to comfort her during this difficult time.