Rebin's Heart Surgery

from northern Iraq

Rebin's Dash to the Hospital

Posted on Fri, 09/16/2011 - 00:00 by Jeff Sheehan

Rebin was not well on Thursday evening, not his usual energetic self. He wanted to be carried by his mother everywhere. His face and head felt warm, and his mother said he was complaining of a sore throat, and a slight earache. He had a fever which came down with medication.

When I saw him this morning, he felt warm and his body hot. His temperature was 38.5 Celsius. Once again I gave him medication to reduce his fever. Wolfson hospital was notified and they requested that he be brought in. On examination, it was felt that he may have an ear problem. Blood tests showed that had an infection that needed to be treated with antibiotics. His nasal swab also showed bacterial traces. So Rebin was admitted with his mother to the pediatric ward, for further management.

Hospitals are not everyone's favorite place to stay, even for a few days. Naturally, this three-year-old wanted to go home, with its favorable surroundings and familiar faces. So far, Rebin has just been a week in Jerusalem. He will need open heart surgery, but this will be delayed until he is healthier. Please pray with us that this infection will be cleared up so he can have his vital operation. We leave him and his mother in our loving Father's healing care.

Rebin Comes Through His First Hospital Visit

Posted on Mon, 09/12/2011 - 22:33 by Jeff Sheehan

For a three-year-old boy from a remote area in northern Iraq, a visit to the big smoke (ie the Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv) must be quite daunting. Rebin is here with his mother to be worked up for the repair of a Ventricular Septal Defect, a fairly common cardiac birth defect. His first work-up today included basic vital observations, an electrocardiograph to get a picture of the electrical signals that the heart produces, a chest x-ray to provide information of heart and lung size, position, or any abnormalities in this area, blood tests to rule out any major organ dysfunction, a tuberculin test for any latent tuberculosis, and finally an echocardiogram to investigate the working of the heart.

This answers the questions: how does the heart work as a pump? Are the heart valves opening and closing efficiently? Is the heart size normal? All of these results are studied together to give the medical staff a clear picture of what they are dealing with. Is surgery required urgently? What would be the appropriate medications to start a patient on? Is he free from any infections? It is a thorough investigation, a scientific study that is based on observation, measurements, tests and empirical judgement.

Young Rebin is a big boy for his age, but still sucks on a pacifier for comfort, he is active, alert and looks healthy. Still at three years old, this little fellow clung to his mum, and had to be coaxed and cajoled to have all these tests done. The mother was a rock of support, and a couple of clowns also helped to make the whole episode less miserable. All in all I was sure that Rebin will remember this experience for a while. I've just visited him upstairs back at Prophets Street to see how he was, and he gave me a big smile, so hopefully he may have already forgotten this morning's experience. Kids do bounce back well.

Putting Aside His Fears

Posted on Sun, 09/11/2011 - 15:38 by jonathan

Almost three-year-old Rebin and his mother reached Jordan from Iraq on Wednesday, and on Thursday we traveled together with two other Kurdish children across the Jordan River to the Shevet Achim center in Jerusalem.

Rebin is still young, as his pacifier shows, but he soon put his fears aside and was boldly exploring his surroundings. He'll have more opportunities on Monday when we take him to the Wolfson Medical Center near Tel Aviv for his first examinations by Israeli doctors in preparation for his open-heart surgery. We'll keep this page updated.