Havan 's Heart Surgery


Meeting Havan's Whole Family In Iraq

Posted on Thu, 05/14/2009 - 07:45 by Donna_Petrel

It was a real blessing to get to see Havan and his family a few weeks ago, just a short time after their return home. Um ("mother of") Havan and I had become good friends, and she was very excited when she realized Dirk and I were really there in her city. She came to the place where we were staying to escort us to her home, and when we arrived we got to meet the whole family.

I was delighted to see how much weight Havan had already gained!

And it was so special to meet his brothers and sisters whom we'd heard about from Um Havan many times, whom she missed so much.

We had a good, long visit and a huge meal together. We had time to talk about both the events of Havan's treatment, and the God of love who opened the door and laid out an unusual path to the right surgeon for Havan's surgery. It was wonderful to be able to talk freely in their home about the things we believe, knowing that the Holy Spirit is the great Teacher who will give understanding. Havan's family, like others we visited, truly hoped that we would stay with them during our time in their city; this gracious hospitality is beautiful to experience.

Havan still has some of the breathing problems he was experiencing when he left, and continues to receive medication for them, but he is doing very well. His family was full of thanks for the help they've received and wants everyone to know how deeply their hearts have been touched by it. We can pray that Havan's lungs also receive the touch of God which will complete his healing. We look forward to further opportunities to visit this little one and his family on future trips to Iraq.

Joyful Havan Returns to His Home

Posted on Sat, 03/21/2009 - 06:45 by Jonathan Miles
Saturday, March 21, 2009
Click this link to see for yourself how happy Havan was at his farewell party in Jerusalem Thursday night. It gives us joy too to send him home with a healed heart, especially after the first hospital we turned to in Israel rejected Havan as an unsuitable candidate for surgery. Thanks to the doctors at the Wolfson Medical Center for taking the chance to help Havan despite the bronchiolitis which made his treatment longer and more difficult.

We brought Havan and his mother to the airport in Amman late Friday night. There were a few anxious moments as we wondered whether she would be allowed on the plane with six big bags of clothing she'd accumulated for her family back in Iraq. But our last glimpse through the terminal window showed that she had made it through!


We thank God for the grace he has poured out and will continue to pour out on Havan and his family.

A Very Good Report

Posted on Thu, 03/12/2009 - 06:45 by Justin_Strong
Thursday, March 12, 2009

We brought Havan to Wolfson Medical Center today for his first follow up echocardiogram since his release from the hospital. Havan seems to endear anyone that comes across him with his big eyes, beautiful smile and bubbly personality. You would never know that just days ago he could not leave a hospital bed. While we waited, Havan enjoyed gumming at a chocolate bar with his two teeth.

Havan has taken a disliking to being laid down in any hospital setting and almost immediately begins to cry regardless of the procedure. Today was no different. During the echo he made quite a fuss, but he managed to get through it okay and the report was very good. After the echo we took a walk down to the mall and let Havan sit on a couple childrens rides which he enjoyed quite a bit.

Havan has made remarkable progress since his surgery, please pray that he will continue to do so.

Havan Moves Out Of ICU

Posted on Mon, 03/02/2009 - 06:45 by Justin_Strong
Monday, March 2, 2009

Donna and I visited Havan today at Wolfson Medical Center in Tel Aviv. We were greeted with good news when we arrived in the ICU to find Havan was not there, but was upgraded to the intermediate ICU. He appears to be doing very well, he is as energetic as ever, and is eager to smile to show his brand new second tooth. We brought him some yogurt as well because, for the first time since his surgery, he was able to begin returning to solid foods. Please pray that his recovery will continue to move smoothly.

Havan Celebrates First Birthday

Posted on Sun, 03/01/2009 - 06:45 by Donna_Petrel
Sunday, March 1, 2009

I was looking forward to seeing Havan and his mom after spending three days away going to Jordan as escort for Arazoo and her mother on their way back home. As I walked into the ICU I was thrilled to see little Havan sitting up in bed with his mom beside him. Click the arrow below to play a video clip.

I had carried a cake with one candle in order to celebrate Havan's first birthday, which was yesterday... but in the ICU we had to abbreviate our celebration until such a time as Havan can come home for a real party. Still it was precious to see him so interested in his cake, until I learned that he cannot eat anything except a bottle for a few more days! At that point I hid the cake from him, and Um Havan planned a little later to take it and share it with the other mothers.

Doctors had removed the second drainage tube from Havan's chest earlier today, and will be observing him for the next several days. If he continues to do well, he will be able to eat normally again, and be released from the ICU.

Um Havan was clearly relieved and joyful today over Havan's condition, and continues to have a thankful heart for all God has done for her son. She is weary though, and needs our prayers as she continues to persevere in caring for her son. Please thank God with us for Havan's recovery as we watch this precious little one regain his strength.

Wide Awake After Extubation

Posted on Wed, 02/25/2009 - 06:45 by Donna_Petrel
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I arrived today at the hospital expecting Havan's mother to be very happy because Havan was to be extubated, only to find her crying instead. Apparently just before our arrival the extubation was finished, and for a few minutes Havan's oxygen level dropped dramatically. For the rest of my visit, Havan's mom was discouraged. The news from the doctors was good, however. Havan was extubated and receiving oxygen under a dome rather than by nasal canula, and his blood oxygen level was at 98%. He was awake, and was very thirsty, but could not have anything to eat or drink because the plan for today also included removing the post-surgical chest tubes. This was another reason Havan's mother was upset, that she could not feed Havan after so long a time. I also learned that she herself had not eaten, so I used her meal ticket in the hospital cafeteria to get a tray for her as well as Alaa's mother, who hadn't eaten yet either. We shared a meal together and at the same time the doctors began to prepare Havan for the removal of the chest tube. Just after we finished eating, I received a call to accompany Mohammad Fara and his mother on the way back to the Gaza border, so I had to leave the hospital rather abruptly. I didn't get to return this evening because we returned to Jerusalem to enjoy a farewell celebration for Arazoo here at the house.

I was very encouraged to see Havan kicking his legs and wide awake, looking everywhere. He only seemed unhappy because he was thirsty, and this is a small problem which will be quickly and easily solved. Please pray for Havan as he continues to strengthen, and for his mother as she continues to care for him. May she be able to get rest and return to her thankful self right away.

Chest Closed Today

Posted on Tue, 02/24/2009 - 06:45 by Donna_Petrel
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Today when I arrived at the hospital I found Um Havan in the room with several of the Palestinian moms. She told me that they would be closing Havan's chest today, and she didn't seem upset about this. After helping Noor and her mother on their way to Haifa for Noor's eye appointment, and checking on Mohammad Al Amsi's mom as she waited during his surgery, Havan's mom and Mohammed Hamdan's mother and I were ready to enter the ICU. Just at that time the doctors were ready to perform the minor surgical procedure to close the chest, so we were asked to leave as soon as we entered. They told us it would be about an hour before the procedure would be finished, and we visited together in the room for parents beside the ICU while we waited. Just about an hour later the procedure was done and we were allowed to enter and check on Havan. He was doing well, and his mother was relieved and thankful. She has a truly thankful heart for everything which has been done for her son, and is thanking God for how well he is doing so far.

The doctors conferred about the next steps of treatment while we were there, and are hoping that tomorrow Havan can be extubated. After their consultation about his condition, as they moved to the next bed, Dr. Houri's assessment of Havan's progress to me was, "Excellent." Praise to God!

Keep praying for little Havan as God continues to heal and strengthen him, and for endurance for Havan's mom as she keeps her loving vigil awaiting Havan's awakening.

Stable, Holding His Own

Posted on Mon, 02/23/2009 - 06:45 by Dorothy_Finlay
Monday, February 23, 2009


This morning I visited Havan and his mother and found him stable according to the doctor's report. He was making signs of waking up, although impeded by all the various tubes and drains needed to help him recover in the acute stage of his postoperative care. His mother was very calm and, judging by the smile on her face, was able to trust God to look after her son.

There has been much prayer for this little man. Please continue to surround him as there are potentially dangerous days ahead as he wakes up and his body systems begin to function normally.

May the love of Jesus fill his mother's heart and His presence be felt touching her son. We give Him all the glory.

Surgery At Last

Posted on Sun, 02/22/2009 - 06:45 by Donna_Petrel
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Praise to God, Havan had successful surgery today after the long wait over the last few months. My visit to the ICU early this evening found Havan's oxygen level at 96%, and the doctors telling his mother and I that the surgery was very good, and Havan was doing well.

The morning began on a disappointing note for both Um Havan and I when, despite my sincerest promise and desire to be with her when Havan left for surgery, I left Jerusalem very early and then was trapped for 1 1/2 hours behind a terrible accident on the highway from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. I spent alot of the time praying for her, and trying to get word to her to explain why I was not there, but of course there was nothing I could do except wait for the road to be cleared. When I arrived and headed for the operating room I saw Um Havan walking slowly towards me far down the hallway. I hurried to her feeling so badly that I had not been there in the intensely emotional time when she parted from Havan as he was taken to surgery. I gave her a big hug and she cried quietly for a few minutes, then in accepting my apology for being so late explained that she was very afraid. I encouraged her not to be afraid, and spent the day with her during Havan's 8 1/2 hour surgery. I was thankful she was willing to eat as we waited so she would be strong when Havan awakens from the sedation following surgery. With encouragement given her during her waiting time, she began to stop being fearful and express gratitude for what was finally happening this day. Throughout the wait there were numerous calls from family members, especially in the early afternoon at the time many surgeries are finished. I decided to go and sit at 'the corner' where we like to wait to see the children as they're wheeled up from the OR, and while there one of the anesthestists came by. Having been to the pre-op room so many times, they know who I am so he asked who I was waiting for, and I told him I was waiting for Havan. He told me Havan's surgery was going well, but the doctors were still working, and it would be at least 3 pm before Havan's surgery was finished. I shared this with Um Havan, and because we knew Havan was doing well, she accepted it easily. The next hours dragged a bit, and we made a call to check on things. We were told Havan was out of surgery and they were hoping to be able to remove him from the heart-lung machine, which could not be rushed. Just at 4 pm we got the call that they were on the way up from the OR, and we saw them only seconds later walking towards us in the hall.

Havan's mother was relieved when she saw him, and after a few pictures were snapped and I could give her a hug, I found she had a huge smile on her face.

We were very relieved to find there was no heart-lung machine coming up with Havan, only to see it wheeled in a few minutes later. It was explained to us that they were bringing it up on standby because of the difficulty of the case, and they hoped he would not need it. I made a call to alert the team to pray for Havan. After about an hour's wait while the monitors and medications were put in place, Um Havan was delighted to go in to see her son.

We entered wondering his status, and were very thankful to see that Havan hadn't needed the heart-lung machine. Um Havan examined all the monitors and IVs, and heard from Dr. Tamir how well the surgery had gone. Then as she began kissing Havan she noticed his pink fingers for the first time. It is such a joy to see a parent experience this moment!

Immediately I began to thank God again for the SACH doctors' willingness to take the case after it was refused by another hospital. It was so clear to those of us on the Shevet team that God had a plan which was different than we'd expected, one which would give Havan a hope and a future. Now it is beginning before our eyes.

Please pray that Havan makes it through the night without need for the heart-lung machine. The first days after surgery are always the critical period, and because his surgery was so long, and the case so complicated, this is a time for focused prayer for him. The doctors will extubate him only when they're satisfied he is doing very well. Keep praying that Um Havan remains strong as she waits through Havan's recuperation, and that all her fear is driven out by the perfect love of God which He's given for her.


Nearing End Of Long Wait

Posted on Fri, 02/20/2009 - 06:45 by Dorothy_Finlay
Friday, February 20, 2009

I just stopped by Havan's bed for a few minutes today and found both mother and son happy. His mother now really believes surgery will happen. Dr Tamir
confirmed that Havan will go forward for surgery this Sunday. Havan's fans will rejoice at this news. Please continue to cover him and his mother in prayer daily.