Rawezh's Heart Surgery

northern Iraq

Surgery Cancelled Due to Cold Symptoms

Posted on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 00:00 by Stephanie Ventura

The surgery that was scheduled today for Rawezh was cancelled due to minor congestion and a cough that he developed. While he did show signs yesterday of a small cough, the doctor determined that it would be best to keep him overnight in the event that the cough almost through, and they could move forward with his surgery.

His mother wasn

Rawezh Admitted Immediately For Surgery

Posted on Mon, 11/21/2011 - 00:00 by Kristina Kayser

"Every child's situation is different." This is a new sentence I'm learning how to say in Kurdish, and it could not be truer. While one child waits for several weeks before surgery, another might be called in to surgery right away. Such was the case for Rawezh today.

I accompanied him and his mother to Wolfson Hospital this morning for pre-admission tests and assessments. This includes everything from a chest X-ray to an EKG, vital signs and weight, and finally, an echocardiogram. En route to the hospital, Rawezh had only one thing on his mind: bubble gum. When object of his desire could not be procured, this young man threw a royal tantrum. Having only met Rawezh and his mother last night, this wasn't the best first impression. Nevertheless, as the day unfolded, my heart and affections were won over by our newcomer.

While waiting for tests to begin, Rawezh's delightful personality surfaced. He just needed some time and space to feel comfortable in a new place with new people. His laughter filled the outdoor play area, delighting everyone who heard him. As Solomon so aptly stated, "A merry heart does good, like medicine" (Prov. 17:22). Then, like the pendulum of clock, Rawezh's emotions swung to the opposite extreme when confronted with a needle. With five people surrounding him on the exam table, he screamed relentlessly after five failed attempts to draw his blood. I ached for him, asking God for mercy and for the doctor to successfully find a vein. Once the required sample was taken, and an IV was secured, cold water, sweet words, and a backrub soothed his spirit.

Rebounding quickly, Rawezh confidently strode in front of his mother to the echo department. Dr. Alona began the exam with this question, "Is Rawezh the kind of boy who will lie calmly throughout the echo?" The aforementioned event was enough to convince me otherwise. Thus, with a help of a gentle sedative, Rawezh breezed his way through the last assessment. Although he didn't fall asleep, he babbled on and on in a half-conscious state. His comical sing-song voice made Dr. Alona keep saying, "He is funny!

The 2-D ultrasound confirmed that Rawezh has a Ventricular Septal Defect. Essentially, a breach exists between the lower two chambers of his heart. This is one of the most common heart defects in children as well as one of the most simple to repair. While the echo results were no surprise to his mother, the doctor's next statement was. "Take him to be admitted! He will have surgery tomorrow." His mother and I exchanged surprised expressions before jumping into action.

Timing is everything, and it just so happens that an afternoon surgery slot unexpectedly opened up on tomorrow's schedule. Some might call this a coincidence, but I say it is the hand of God. He orchestrates the times and seasons for all creation, including the life of a young boy from Kurdistan.

Rawezh and His Mother Arrive in Israel

Posted on Sun, 11/20/2011 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles

Three-year-old Rawezh and his young mother made the journey of faith across the Jordan River today, braving the unknown in hopes of finding healing for his heart. Rawezh was born with a hole between the ventricles of his heart which if uncorrected would take his life.

He and his mother were courageous today as they ventured for the first time outside of their home region in the north of Iraq. With a little coaxing Rawezh explored the play area at a giant Burger King in Amman, and when things got too stressful (sitting in a child car seat, for example) he found solace in the toy cars which accompanied him everywhere.

He even took his wheels for a private spin while we waited at passport control at the border crossing terminal (click the play arrow below to watch the video):

Tomorrow Rawezh will have his first encounter with Israeli doctors in the Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv. Let's pray that his strong heart will emerge from this challenging time even stronger. 

Rawezh Crossing the Jordan into Israel

Posted on Wed, 11/09/2011 - 22:52 by jonathan

Three-year-old Rawezh and his mother reached Jordan tonight by air from northern Iraq, and tomorrow morning are due to cross the Jordan River and enter Israel. We'll update this page after their first appointment at the hospital in Israel.