Vareen Invited To Israel For Surgery

Vareen is a sweet five-year-old girl from Iraq. Her heart condition was first diagnosed when she was six months old. At our cardiac screening last week in Jordan, Dr. Tamir's examination showed that "the clock is ticking" for Vareen.

She has a large PDA (patent ductus arteriosus). This means that there is an abnormal circulation of blood between two of the major arteries near the heart. Before birth, the two major arteriesthe aorta and the pulmonary arteryare normally connected by a blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus, which is an essential part of the fetal circulation. After birth, the vessel is supposed to close within a few days as part of the normal changes occurring in the baby's circulation. In some babies like Vareen, however, the ductus arteriosus remains open (patent). This opening allows blood to flow directly from the aorta into the pulmonary artery, putting a strain on Vareen's heart and increasing the blood pressure in the lung arteries (pulmonary hypertension). Varen also has an enlarged left ventricle.

The good news is that Vareen is operable, and she has been invited to come to Israel for heart catheterization and surgery. Because she is considered an urgent case, Dr. Tamir didn't want to risk sending her home to Iraq and having her return later. So Vareen is now waiting with her mother at Dirk and Manuela's home in Jordan, along with four other children and their escorts.

Dirk writes:

Today is the third day back home after the screening, which we remember as a joyful and at the same time exhausting experience. Five Iraqi families came to our home in Jordan with us to await their visas to Israel, and like the rest of us passed almost the entire first day at the guest flat sleeping. Of course everything is so new to them, and they were very quiet and did not want to disturb us or use our kitchen although we offered it to them many times. They prepared their own food downstairs, and only when they ran out of water or other necessities did they leave their quarters.

Communication with the families here was quite difficult at first, since they hardly speak any Arabic or English, with the exception of one grandmother. This older lady, who herself has raised 11 children, is active and has helped us with translation a lot. A Kurdish translator named Komar arrived here on Friday. It really helps a lot to have him build a bridge to their culture, even though two of the families speak a different dialect than Komar and the other three families.

Child Profile: 

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