Safa's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

CT Today, Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Sun, 03/26/2017 - 23:37 by Rebekah Yang

After our morning staff meeting, Sean and I walked to the hospital to visit the three kids who are still hospitalized at Wolfson.

While we spent some times individually with Safa, Naz and Seraj, a doctor came over and introduced himself as a neurologist who came to gave Safa a few neurological tests.
He was concerned because when Safa was born he was only 3.5 kg (8 lbs) and 6 months later he only weighs 5 kg (11 lbs). When he finished his tests with Safa, he requested a brain CT for him this afternoon.
At 2:30 pm Safa was wheeled into the CT room. I spent a few minutes with his mum outside waiting. Praise God after only a few minutes, Safa had finished his brain CT. then he was returned to the children's ward.
At the moment, Safa is on the heart surgery schedule for tomorrow morning before 8 am. Please lift up our cute little boy and his mum in your prayers. May Yeshua strengthen Safa's mum and give her peace tonight and for Safa's big day tomorrow. In Messiah's name I pray, amen!!

Holding Him Close

Posted on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 21:36 by Sean Perez

Today Safa looked pretty good and got a lot of well deserved rest. The moments he was awake were filled with a lot of smiles and laughs, which was really adorable.  In our last visit, the doctor's were trying to find new formula for his diet, because his body was rejecting the hospital milk initially being administered.  They now have a new formula that they are going to administer today, and hopefully it will sit well with him and he won't throw up anymore.

The doctors said that, generally, he is doing pretty well and there are presently no complications.  Over the next couple of days, they are going to perform a few exams to help better determine his future procedure date. 

Nevertheless, his mother was quite encouraged and in great spirits as she sat by his bedside and held him close to her side.  It reminded me of the love that our Father has lavished on us, as we are called children of God, through the Messiah, Yeshua (1 John 3:1).

Safa Transferred to Children's Ward

Posted on Sun, 03/19/2017 - 21:43 by Rebakah Yang

After the morning meeting, I walked to Wolfson to visit our new baby Safa, who was admitted to ICU right after he arrived in Israel on Friday.

Safa's mum was very happy to see me and greeted me with kisses on both cheeks. A few minutes later Doctor Huri came into ICU, and I asked him for an update on Safa. He told me that they were just about to transfer Safa to Children's Ward, and I went with them to Ward around 11 a.m.
Safa did not like the hospital milk formula and had thrown up last Friday. The doctor was very concerned and decided to order another milk formula for him.
Please lift Safa and his mother up in prayer. May our hospital medical team have the wisdom to treat Safa and plan for his upcoming heart surgery. Above all, I believe there is only one best planner, and that's our Yeshua. He has a great and wonderful plan for Safa and Safa's mum. Thanks for standing with us to pray and support them, amen!

A Journey of Trust

Posted on Fri, 03/17/2017 - 21:59 by Ruth Zellweger

Early this morning, little Safa and his mother left their home in Kurdistan, Northern Iraq, and started their journey towards a healed heart for Safa. They were joined by our co-worker Sean, who flew out with together with them. We thank God that the travel was without any complications.

Mother and son arrived well and were picked up by Rebekah and Joseph. Rebekah was prepared and quickly assessed Safa to find out if we should bring him to the hospital straight away. The assessment was satisfactory, so they decided to come to our Jaffa home.

Safa and his mother were lovingly welcomed by our other family. Safa's mother already knew one of the other parents from back home, which must have been in some way strange and comforting at the same time. We called Dr. Alona to let her know that Safa had arrived. We talked for a moment and decided that, since Safa was stable, we would bring him in on Sunday morning for his initial assessments at Wolfson hospital. When I saw Safa a few minutes later, he was crying and very blue, and looked unwell. Because of the upcoming Shabbat, I asked Dr. Alona if we could bring Safa to the hospital so that she could have a look and give us her feedback. She agreed, and shortly after we were already on our way to the hospital. Rebekah kindly accompanied us.

Before long, most of the assessments had been done, and Safa was given a sedative before the echocardiogram. It took him a while to fall asleep, but eventually he could not fight the sleep anymore. Dr. Alona performed the echo and told us that it was good that we had brought him right away. He is in need of surgical intervention. However, she could not say with certainty that they would be able to do a full repair at this time due to the small pulmonary arteries. She will discuss it with the doctors and surgeons this coming Sunday and then will get back to us.  According to his medical history, Safa has been frequently experiencing cyanotic spells - a central cyanosis caused by the rapid drop in the amount of oxygen in the blood. Dr. Alona told us that she would hospitalize Safa for a few days to start him on a medication that requires monitoring during the first few days. After the blood test, Rebekah took Safa back to his room where he slept for the next hour. 

Rebekah and I were saying goodbye to Safa's mother and were just about to leave the hospital, when Safa suddenly had one of these cyanotic spells. He threw up the formula he had had earlier, and his face turned very blue. The nurses were having their shift change and were nearby. They quickly took him to the nurses station where he received oxygen. He quickly normalized. Dr. Eve informed the ICU and it was decided that Safa would be admitted to the ICU. 

Safa is currently being monitored in the ICU. Even though this day has been exhausting physically and emotionally for Safa and his mother, we are so thankful that they made it to Israel in time and that the hospital was willing to receive them right away, even on the Eve of Shabbat, which is not a regular day to bring in new children.

What a journey mother and son went on today - and this is only the beginning. But we trust our heavenly Father to be with them each step on the way

An Answer to Prayer: Meet Safa

Posted on Sun, 03/12/2017 - 22:14 by Virginia Pavy

A few days ago we contacted Safa's parents to share the good news about him traveling to Israel in a week's time for his life-saving surgery. As you can imagine, they were very happy and relieved. This was an answer to many prayers.

We first learned of little Safa's condition 6 weeks ago. He was one of close to ninety children screened by an American group of pediatric cardiologists and medical staff. Safa's case was particularly serious. The doctor told us that he is at very high risk of sudden death and that he needed to come to Shevet urgently for medical care in Israel. 

As soon as we received the full medical report, we sent it to our team in Israel. At that time we also made an appointment to visit with the family. How do you tell parents that their baby boy is at risk of sudden death due to his congenital heart defect? It was a very difficult time but yet also full of hope. We were able to pray over Safa and turned him over to God who lovingly created him. And we also put our trust in God to make a way for him.

The waiting time has been very difficult for the family. Safa has been rushed to the hospital couple of times due to complications with breathing and low oxygen. The day we met with them, he was rushed to see the doctor for a different reason. He needed to be assessed by the doctor in order to get the green light to fly. Praise God, the doctor approved him for traveling!

Safa's mother has been anxiously waiting for their travel day. She is extremely nervous for her child but also for their journey to a foreign land. She was very afraid at the thought of going alone, and not knowing what to expect. She even asked us if we could have someone travel with her. We praise God for His goodness. He has provided for this family even in this way. Safa and mother will be escorted by one of our coworkers who is returning to Israel this week.

Also, while at the hospital, Safa's mother was able to talk to a local father who just came back from Israel a week ago. She was able to ask him many questions and was comforted after talking with him.

Safa's journey is just beginning. Our prayers for him and his family continue. We trust in God to do abundantly more than we ask or hope for. May we believe in greater miracles and greater answers to prayers as we see the wonderful hand of God at work both in his heart and his mother's heart.