Baran Israel 's Heart Surgery

Baran Israel

Baran's Return Home to Kurdistan

Posted on Thu, 12/09/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_Petrel
December 9, 2010

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

On Tuesday morning we thanked God for his favor as Michelle, Goran and I were given clearance to enter the airport grounds so we could see the Baran's parents and uncle as they returned to Kurdistan with Baran's body. We had time with Barans mother and aunts as we waited for the men to bring his body outside the airport to begin the journey home. We wept together over the loss of this precious life and offered our loving concern for them all. When the body was released to the family, we walked with the women to join the family waiting in the parking area, weeping again for the painful reality engulfing each person whod gathered. We watched them drive away in procession to the private burial in the fathers small village. We were invited to come to the visitation to be with the family during the traditional mourning period.

On Wednesday we traveled several hours southward down the highway towards Baghdad to visit the family, meeting and offering condolences to the grandparents, aunts , uncles, and cousins. Most of Barans mothers relatives had come on Tuesday to the home of Barans fathers family. We were told there was great weeping among the perhaps three-hundred people who gathered. Barans grandparents and nearest aunts and uncles on his mothers side stayed, but the majority of relatives from that side of the family left Tuesday. Later his parents will go to that village to stay for a mourning period. While we were there, the large family of Barans father dropped by throughout the day. We had lunch with the large group of women who were asked to lunch, and were joined by Barans mother and aunts as the crowd thinned out. Michelle and I were honored to spendsome private time with Barans mother and aunts, and his maternal grandmother, which was very precious to us. We were able to share our hearts and our feelings, expressing our deep sympathy in their heartbreak. But most of our time was spent sitting with the women of the main family while the extended family came in groups to offer support. Some were clearly moved with compassion and expressed their sympathy, but we noted that in general this visitation is a tradition offering strength to one another in time of need, and coming to rally around the family who is suffering loss. There was hardly a moment throughout our stay when there were less than twenty women visiting, and often there were more than thirty women sitting together. Barans aunts on his fathers side were busy serving water or tea to each female relative who came, clearing the cups, making more tea, and serving the next group. During this time, Goran was sitting in the courtyard with the men, as they stayed outside the house except for lunchtime. Then they came into a separate room to dine, after the women had finished, and immediately returned to their seats outdoors. Barans uncles were carrying tea and water to all of the men just as the aunts served the women who were inside. They tirelessly served everyone who came.

When it was time to leave, we were fondly bid goodbye by each of the family members. They were sincerely grateful for our presence, and for the part wed had in helping Baran receive the help he needed. Even in the loss of Baran, each person treated us with graciousness and respect, humbling us with their care for us in the midst of their pain. As we left town, we drove with an aunt and uncle to the nearby cemetery to see Barans simple grave, and bid him a final farewell. In a few days, Barans parents will travel to the village of his mothers family for more visitation. We hope to visit again with them during that time; perhaps next week. Please continue to pray with us for this dear family to receive the strong consolation of Gods love for each of them as they adjust to life without their beloved Baran.

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. 1 Thess. 4:13

A Time for Weeping

Posted on Sun, 12/05/2010 - 06:42 by ryan
December 5, 2010

Sheba Hospital called this morning around 10 am to inform us that, despite round-the- clock efforts for the past 35 days, baby Baran has passed from this world. His situation had been growing increasingly grave in recent days. The combination of respiratory distress syndrome, pulmonary hypertension, and cardiac anomaly was severe, and this morning his heart failed.

Two hours after the phone call a car with five Shevet Achim staff arrived to comfort the grieving parents. As we entered the childrens ward, mother and father were just leaving the ICU, having said their last farewell to the body of their firstborn. Their heads were bowed in sorrow and disbelief, and their eyes were spent with weeping. As we met them and embraced, more tears were found. There is a language gap between us, but it did not matter. There are not words fit to this moment. The room which knows the wail of mother and heaving sorrow of father after a child dies seems to ask you only to be silent and present, and this is what we did.

Many people have been praying for Baran and his family over the last weeks, that God would affect a merciful and miraculous healing. In whispered reverence, it may be said that these prayers have been answered. This morning at the hospital one of the first words told us was that Barans parents were grateful they were not forced to make the impossibly difficult decision of deciding Barans future. It was made for them today, and while yet deep in grief they recognize the mercy. It was also a blessing that Barans father was able to travel to Israel to spend a week with his son and wife. Their consistent concern was that Baran would not live a life of suffering; he is now free of all suffering and in the perfect hand of his Creator.

But the parents do still need all of our prayers. Tonight they are staying at the Shevet Achim house in Jerusalem. As Barans mother entered our courtyard and met the other mothers, she physically broke down and wept on the ground for a quarter of an hour. Within the next days father and mother will fly home to northern Iraq with the body of their son. Please pray that Gods mercy would continue to be active in these days of intense emotional pain. Their hearts are broken. Pray also that our staff would be wise in the way we assist them in traveling home and in the way we continue to love them.

You may click to send an e-mail message to Baran's parents.

An Evening As One

Posted on Wed, 12/01/2010 - 06:42 by ryan
December 1, 2010

Baby Baran has been in the hospital now over a month. As he lies in the ICU bed at Sheba Medical Center, a fragile chalice of life beneath a skyscrape of medical machinery, his mother is at his side every day. Those of you who have been following this blog have no doubt noticed that every update seems to bring a new picture of mother standing watchfully by the bed of her son.

One week ago Barans father arrived from Kurdistan in northern Iraq. As he was in transit at the Istanbul airport the Israeli authorities notified Shevet Achim that the man would be denied access to the country. A dozen phone calls and one prayer meeting later, the decision was overturned and Barans parents were reunited.

While the rest of the children currently at Shevet Achim are being treated at Wolfson Hospital in Holon, Baby Baran (due to his cleft palate) is being treated at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv. For the last month Barans mother has been mostly alone.

Tonight a group of thirteen from the Shevet house staff, volunteer, and the other Iraqi families drove to Tel Aviv to bring Barans parents both their company and a generous platter of a Kurdish grape-leaf dish. The reunion, you could see in their eyes, lifted spirits.

For two hours there was good food and good talk under the cool obsidian sky of a Mediterranean eventide. Clapping of hands & someone playing the guitar, foot races for the little boys & talk of home among the adults. A cat topples over a tin garbage can. One of the children is in amazement at the automatic door; he kicks at it, looses an avalanche of laughter, kicks again at it. Chatting and chatting, the women, the men; mingled tenors of English, Arabic, Hebrew, and Kurdish. It was a moment that recalled to mind the promises of the Kingdom of God, that among peoples of many tongues and skin tones would someday be real fellowship and love.

Day 30 of Prayer Vigil: Words of Love and Hope

Posted on Tue, 11/30/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_West
November 30, 2010

Mary, Gadi, and I were happy to see Baran's mother and father when we arrived at Sheba Hospital this morning. As we sat and visited, we spoke of the love of family and of hope. We spoke of the love of a father for his child and a "daddy" being willing to do anything for his child. We spoke of the love God has for Baran by giving him to such a loving family that would travel such great distances and continually stand by him, waiting, hoping and praying for a miraculous recovery.

Each of us took turns going in to the ICU to see Baran and to speak healing and good health for him. His mother smoothed his hair, held his hand and stroked his body as she kept a watchful eye on all the monitors.

Today was not a good day for communication with the ICU staff. Although the doctors were very busy, one of the nurses caring for Baran did tell us, "For now, his temperature is normal." When we returned to the ICU room after a brief lunch, his mother noticed the nitrous oxide tank was back in the room.

The lack of timely information wears on Baran's parents. This is another part of God's intervention for which we need your prayers. It is difficult to make good decisions when up-to-date information is not frequently and clearly made available to you. On day 30 of our prayer vigil for Baran, we thank you for standing with us, and ask our heavenly Father to allow us to see the things hoped for.

Baran's Parents Faced with Difficult Decision

Posted on Sun, 11/28/2010 - 06:42 by Connie_McGuire
November 28, 2010
Today I visited with Baran and his parents at Sheba Hospital. Baran remains in serious condition in the ICU. While we are happy that Abu Baran (Barans father) is now here, unfortunately he is very ill with a cold. Due to this he has had limited time with Baran in his four days here. The risk of contagion is too high.

Baran's condition remains much the same. There have been no changes to his medications or his general status. Most of my visit today was spent discussing with his parents how we at Shevet Achim might assist in the communication between the parents and the medical staff at Sheba. Baran's father has a visa in Israel for just one month, and it is his wish to take his family with him when he leaves for Kurdistan. I was very touched to see this humble man share his heart, his wishes and his great love for his son.

Please continue to pray for this young family as they make such difficult decisions regarding the next step in treatment for Baran. They find themselves in an almost impossible situation, and are faced with the most difficult decisions that a parent will ever have to make. Please continue to pray for healing, for mercy and grace.

A Mother's Touch

Posted on Tue, 11/23/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_Petrel
November 23, 2010
I was glad to have a visit with Baran and his mother again today in the Sheba ICU. The battle for his life continues as he fights two types of infection in his bloodstream, while he remains on the ventilator and IV nutrition. Thankfully in the last few days the strain of bacteria has been identified and the appropriate antibiotics are being administered to treat it. His body has so far shown little change in the white blood cell count, but the fever he struggled with has come down. He was able to receive milk again starting yesterday after having trouble digesting it last week and therefore being changed to basic IV nutrition.

Another change noted today is that he's being given medication to keep him from moving around when the doses of sedatives begin to wear off, so that he won't accidentally pull the breathing tube out like he did last week. While it's difficult to his mother that he isn't moving at all, she understands why, and the benefit is that she is allowed to touch him now. This is a gift in itself since doctors have shared the sad news that they aren't sure Baran will be able to come off the ventilator at this point.

While none of the family and none of us are giving up hope on a miracle, living in the moment-to-moment difficulty of Baran's challenging situation is not easy. As we talked today Baran's mother expressed how hard it is for her to see him on so many medications for twenty-three days, unable to eat and move and be held and look around. Yet her disposition remains gentle and thankful; she spoke of how many of the ICU staff are like friends to her because they've been with Baran on several shift rotations by now.

Baran's family is grateful for all the prayers being offered for him. Please keep believing God with us as we anchor ourselves in the hope that does not disappoint.

Day 15: Doctors Consider Plan to Remove Baran from Ventilator

Posted on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_Petrel
November 16, 2010

Michelle and I had another visit with Baran, his mother and relative today, and found him undergoing an echo as we entered the ICU. We love being able to spend time together, and it is extra special to Baran's mother since there are no other Iraqi children at this hospital. He had just returned from a CT scan of his head as doctors continue following up on how they may best help him come off the ventilator.

Last night and today Baran was moving a good deal, and this morning actually pulled the breathing tube out as he wiggled on the bed. The staff acted quickly to re-insert it, and they feel that the movement which caused the incident is due to Baran's body becoming resistant to the sedative he's been taking. This is day fifteen since his catheterization when the respiratory distress began, so the sedative will be changed. Doctors told the family that Baran will be receiving aggressive treatment to prepare his body for another attempt at extubation in a few days. We are all praying hopefully that he will be able to breathe on his own again. When we left the hospital there were no results available from either the CT scan or the echocardiogram; perhaps we'll know more tomorrow. Thank you for continuing to join us in trusting God and praying for precious Baran, his sweet mother, and their whole family.

Breathing On His Own for a Few Hours

Posted on Sun, 11/14/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_Petrel
November 14, 2010
After changes in his feeding method Friday Baran began to stabilize, and all of Saturday his blood pressure and his heart rate were stable. Late Saturday evening doctors informed his mother that if he remained stable through the night and into the morning, they would try to extubate him (remove the breathing tube) this morning. And before we had a chance to get to the hospital, we found out by phone that the tube was out, and Baran was breathing with the help of an oxygen dome. He was monitored constantly to see if he could remain off the ventilator, first for a half-hour, then longer. He was not heavily sedated at that time, and was able to wiggle and cry and cough. Medical staff told the family it was good that he was exercising his lungs in this way. After about two hours his respiratory rate became very erratic, and doctors had to re-intubate Baran. When we arrived he was again sleeping under heavy sedation. Seeing him off the ventilator was an encouragement, but since he had to go back on the ventilator, the morning was filled with many emotions for the family. The family reported the doctors said they would try again to remove the tube. We hope to get more information about the significance of Baran's time spent breathing on his own, and will follow up with doctors about how they think he's doing at this time. Please keep praying for Baran's healing, and for his dear mother who is always nearby. We had a nice visit with her today, thankful to take her some delicious Kurdi cooking from some of the other mothers here in the house. Even though we know she is tired and anxious about her son, she never complains and is always grateful and kind. We all remain thankful that God has brought us together during this journey of healing for Baran and his family.

An Open-hearted Meeting with Doctors

Posted on Thu, 11/11/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_Petrel
November 11, 2010

It is difficult to find words to answer the question "How did the meeting with the doctors go?" My honest answer, in simplest terms, is that it was a very special meeting filled with open-heartedness among every one. It seemed to me that the gentleness of everyone's discussion reflected a shared concern about a subject matter so valuable that speaking the language of kindness was the only one any of us would have understood. The compassion and humility of the surgeon (and his coworkers) as he spoke to Baran's family, understanding the complications, the emotions, the realities of where things stood, was precious to witness. The respect for the family, and the family's respect for him as they took in all the information he gave them, and asked all the questions they had, was also precious to witness. Everyone in the room was focused on this beloved little life, and how to help him the most and the best, and even in the pain of it, it was good to be part of because it was all done with love of life at the core.

The doctor's decision is that he does not feel surgery is the best option for Baran. The reason is that he believes there is significant, irreversible lung damage from the heart problem. This means there is a big risk that he might die in the surgery, and if he makes it through surgery, the doctor feels he would not be able to live more than a few months. However, if Baran's lungs can strengthen and he can be removed from the ventilator, he may be able to live home with his family for some years. Currently it is unknown whether his lungs can become strong enough to extubate him (remove him from the breathing machine). So for now the focus will be to wean him from the ventilator, very slowly, to see how his lungs and heart can handle the change.

The family prefers that the surgery go forward so they will know every option has been explored for Baran's heart to be healed. Since the surgeon is not willing to do something he feels could end Baran's life, he invited the family to contact another surgeon about the case. While Baran's body rests and his lungs have a chance to strengthen, the surgeons and cardiologists will be able to talk over the case and see how the second doctor views the options. The family is thankful for this cooperation, and appreciative of the care Baran is receiving from this excellent team. We also shared our gratitude for the work of the medical staff and told them many of us are praying for them.

Baran himself remains in critical condition, a very sick baby. He was moving a lot again today, even on heavy sedation, and his hands were restrained to keep him from removing any of his tubes. The video below gives a glimpse of how Baran's mother attempts to soothe and comfort him.

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Baran is receiving diuretics which have reduced the fluid in his body to help him breathe as well as possible, but the result is the evidence of weight loss he's had while in the ICU. Overall it was an intense day for the family as they process everything from the doctor and everything going on with Baran. We know God is near to the broken-hearted, and can be called upon to answer the cries of this dear family.

A Quiet Harbor of Comfort

Posted on Wed, 11/10/2010 - 06:42 by Donna_Petrel
November 10, 2010

In the midst of what must seem a sea of painful realities and emotions to Baran's mother, I hope that today offered a short rest in a quiet harbor. Dear co-worker Muna and I went to visit Baran and his mom, and the precious comfort of someone who really understands was evident as Muna and Baran's mother spent time together. Muna herself has twin boys who were both born with cleft palates and lips, have come through all the surgeries and treatment, and are now wonderfully healthy, active 9-year-olds whom Baran's mother recently met. So when Muna met Baran, she loved him in a special and unique way because of how well she understood everything about him. And the same is true for how she loves Baran's mother. Today they had a chance to spend time together with Baran, and talk over things which someone who has "been there" can share with others in a similar situation. It was like a gift of time set apart, when Baran's mom was able to relax a little as we all spent time together; all aware of everything going on, and able to talk about it with sensitivity and honesty and love. How gracious of God to allow it for Baran's mother ... I hope it was an encouragement during the difficulties, a place where love entered and brought some comfort and peace.

Although we understand that Baran had some trouble during the night, we were thankful to see that his heart rate had lowered significantly since yesterday, and his blood pressure had also improved. Doctors are working to wean Baran from the ventilator, slowly decreasing the activity of the machine delivering oxygen to his body. I noted that today his blood oxygenation has decreased to 89% as he works harder to breathe on his own. He remains deeply sedated so that his body can use all its energy to breathe without the help of the ventilator.

The surgeon was not in the hospital today, so he was not able to meet with Baran's mother and family member. Instead they hope to meet tomorrow to discuss his decision about Baran's operability, and to ask questions about everything. We can pray for God's grace to be tangible during this meeting as we continue to trust and believe for outcomes far beyond human abilities.