Monsour 's Heart Surgery


A Doctor's Hunch and a Small Drama

Posted on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 00:25 by Brian Mace

During our routine Friday visit to the hospital to see Gaza children, a small drama unfolded in Monsour

Monsour Appears Calmer, But Still Very Unwell

Posted on Wed, 02/01/2012 - 15:42 by Brian Mace

How wonderful to visit Monsour and his grandma on Tuesday and to find them settled and at peace in Wolfson Hospital. Monsour looks less stressed than yesterday, but still very unwell. The hospital is scheduling more check-ups for him, and tests are ongoing. In fact, for a long time they were both away from their bed, and I (tongue in cheek) reported them as missing to a very friendly English speaking nurse. She, with a good sense of humour, responded that none of her patients go missing! They had been away for 2 hours, whilst Monsour underwent more tests. 

Monsour Readmitted to Wolfson Hospital in Tel Aviv

Posted on Mon, 01/30/2012 - 21:45 by Brian Mace

Today is a day we have all been waiting for, for a long time; we collected Monsour and his grandma from the Gaza crossing point and took them to Wolfson Hospital. It seemed that it was difficult to get him admitted, as we had a near cancellation last night, and when the nurses realised, upon his admission, that he had a very high fever, there was some doubt whether they would keep him. Then the admission procedure required an urgent fax from Shevet. But, praise God, Monsour is now admitted and in capable hands.

The things we are concerned about are whether his tracheotomy tube may be removed; whether infections around the site of his removed stomach tube can be eradicated; why he is not eating properly; and why he is not putting on weight. The doctors are taking up these issues and we will be reporting on his progress, as soon as we can. In the meantime his grandma looks to be healthy, well, and not as tired-looking as I remember her a year ago. She is, however, most concerned about her grandson.

A Father's Dilemma

Posted on Sun, 01/15/2012 - 18:38 by Jonathan Miles

It's been at least three years since I've entered the Gaza Strip. One of the things drawing me back has been news that our precious baby Monsour is not doing well seven months after his return from heart surgery in Israel. So Wednesday (after some delay at the border while I secured final permission) I was finally back in Gaza, and headed directly for the humble home of Monsour's family in the Jabaliya refugee camp. In the main room, which is partially open to the elements and quite cold, I found Monsour wrapped in blankets.

Monsour's eyes and face are as expressive as ever, but he's making a terrible wheezing sound from congestion in the tracheotomy tube which remains in his throat. His father explained that the tube needs suctioning, but it wasn't possible during our visit due to one of Gaza's recurring power outages.

The feeding tube into Monsour's stomach was removed in Gaza a few months ago, but the parents say the site is still leaking and has caused repeated infections which put Monsour into the ICU in Gaza. He is still not eating well and his weight at age 15 months is still only five kilograms (11 pounds). 

Monsour's father obviously loves his only son; I shared with him that God too knows what it means to love an only son. In the father's eyes I can see the desperation of a parent who know that treatment exists to save his child, but that he is powerless to reach it. After the difficulties with the stomach tube the family no longer has confidence in the medical care in Gaza, and seem to prefer waiting at home to taking Monsour in for further treatment.

I think the message of my visit was that their dilemma has not been forgotten, either by us or by God. I told the family we will work to get Monsour back to the Wolfson Medical Center in Israel to evaluate what is happening and put him on a course to gaining weight. Tonight I spoke with Dr. Sion Houri, head of the pediatric ICU at Wolfson who invested much in Monsour's life while he was hospitalized in Israel. He's asked for an update medical report so that we can ask the hospital administration to allow Monsour to return. As part of our request we'll want to offer at least modest financial support to the hospital, so that the administrator can accept Monsour in good conscience.

You may click here to send a message of encouragement to Monsour's family.

You may click here to help with the cost of returning Monsour to Israel.

What We Found at Monsour's Home

Posted on Wed, 08/03/2011 - 00:00 by Anna Maria

So glad that today it worked out that I could visit Mansour and his family!

I called a friend of mine to go with me, as she's living in Jabalia (the same town in the Gaza Strip as Monsour's family), and guess what ... she turned out to know the family and they are even distant relatives.

The mom and dad were nice and hospitable...and finally I got to see Monsour!

He's a lovely little baby, so quiet and dear. He spends most of his time sucking his thumb. His mother doesn't like it and tries to keep his hand away from his mouth, but I think it's just the best thing for him now, because it keeps him peaceful and content (instead of fussing and crying).

Monsour is still fragile and underweight (4.5 kilograms, 10 pounds) but his skin color and aspect is much better than before (I saw a picture of him when he was in the Wolfson hospital). He is breathing on his own, and still has the stomach and trach tubes, but as I understood they will be removed maybe in a week or two. Generally he's doing well and stable now. As I was holding him, I was praying quietly for his continual healing and I told the family that many people are praying for him.


Wide-eyed Monsour Heads to Gaza

Posted on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 00:00 by Jonathan Miles
After fighting faithfully for Monsour's life these past months, today his doctors in Israel released him to return to a hospital in Gaza. Dr. Sion Houri, the head of the pediatric ICU, told us that Monsour's condition has improved to the point that he only needs another month or two of nutrition and breathing support, which he believes can be handled safely by the hospital in Gaza.

It was lovely to watch Monsour's beaming grandmother go throughout the ICU embracing the nurses and effusively thanking the doctors as they said farewell.

Then wide-eyed little Monsour was transferred to a portable incubator and trusted into the hands of a team from the Magen David Edom ambulance service for transfer to Gaza.

After Monsour's ambulance pulled away, the Shevet Achim staff gathered in the ICU to express our appreciation for the day and night battle the hospital staff has waged for Monsour's life, telling them "Your work will not be forgotten."

We gave them a beautiful framed sketch of Monsour done by our coworker Michelle (with the inscription in English, Hebrew, and Arabic from Job 5:16 "So the poor have hope"), a gift basket of chocolates, and also a check representing contributions specifically raised for Monsour by Christ Church in Jerusalem and Christ Church in Calvert County, Maryland, USA.

Click here for the full story of Monsour's hospitalization in Israel.

Putting Up A Fight...And Halleluiah!

Posted on Tue, 05/17/2011 - 00:00 by Natalie Wisely

Our coworker Natalie writes on Friday, May 13, 2011:

Today was the first time I had visited Monsour. When I approached his bedside, I was amazed how tiny he is and how weak he looked. But while I stood there, he slowly lifted his small hands and shook them. It was as if he was saying, Im not giving up without a fight! This boy is stronger than he looks. I think he has his grandmothers determination.

Hope continues to be a theme of Monsours story. Today, he is stable and the doctor was optimistic about his condition. He is still breathing through a ventilator, but appears to be doing better. Monsours grandmother, always the beacon of strength and hope, was pleased to hear her grandson is doing well today.

Please continue to keep this little boy in your prayers. Even though he is doing better, he has an infection around his heart that the doctor is watching closely. There is hope that one day he and his grandmother will be able to go home, but for now he must remain. Pray that he continues to remain stable and this infection heals quickly.

For Monsour, each new day is a gift. Tomorrow holds no promises, but each day he lives continues to give hope. This small boy who has spent only days outside of a hospital has inspired me to live each day to the fullest. Since there are no guarantees about tomorrow, we should be thankful that we were given today.

.....And our friend Efrat Nakash, an Israeli photographer, writes on Tuesday, May 17, 2011 in an email to Shevet Achim:

Dear friends,

I just talked to Eyal [Efrat's son, a doctor in the pediatric department at Wolfson Hospital] who told me that Mansour is improving! Last week there was a shift in his condition, and now he is smiling and getting better. Eyal said he is very cute. Sion even considered releasing him on Thursday, but after the death of the baby today, he decided to be extra cautious and wait a few more days.


Btw, if you scroll Monsours page to April 1st report by Theresa Hafen, you will see Eyal.

Thank you for the exciting experiences you share with me!



Banking On Hope

Posted on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 01:00 by ryan

There is no change in Monsours condition: he continues to lie in the back corner bed of the Wolfson Pediatric ICU, like a wheel hub from which spokes of medical machinery radiate in all directions. The whirring hum of a ventilator vibrates his body. Two large tubes penetrate the skin of his neck, circulating a clear liquid.

The nurse I spoke with said simply, , He is in the same condition, a difficult condition.

Neither is there change in the condition of Monsours grandmother: she remains defiantly hopeful. I was with her today in the hallway as she lambasted another woman in the hospital, not a member of the medical staff. Her arms beat out angry polemics into the air, her eyes and forehead furrowed at fierce angles. She is a small woman, but one could feel the heat. Watching her fulminate, you felt like you were in the presence of a human exclamation point. My coworker Lina translated, She is upset, because she says that that woman has no hope about Monsours situation. There is always hope, she says. We must be hopeful.

When you approach him closely, you see the flaking dryness of Monsours exposed skin, the slack deterioration of the muscles in his arms, the variegated red and white of his coloring. Sensors on his back monitor internal organs, his eyes are closed with gauze and tape, his head is tilted down at an awkward angle. They probably rotate his position every few hours. One is tempted to think he is not being well cared for, given his grave appearance; but the serious and quick-paced environment in the ICU makes you conclude otherwise: Monsour is being given the best care science knows.

Please do remain in prayer. It is written that three remain: faith, hope, and love. One day the King of Love will be the sole reality. Until then, we can hope in the one who sources and receives our faith. We can take cues from Monsours grandmother. Always there is hope.

Monsour's Lungs Weaken, Otherwise Stable

Posted on Tue, 04/26/2011 - 01:00 by Theresa Hafen

Todays visit with Monsour found him sedated and still breathing with the help of a ventilator. His nursing caregivers in ICU said that he is in stable condition. The doctors who care for him said that this week his lungs have deteriorated slightly and they are not sure why. They also said that they hoped the oscillating ventilator would strengthen his respiratory system and that he could eventually be weaned off of it.

We continue to hope and pray, and Monsour continues to be given the best medical care and interventions possible. His Grandmother, who is ever at his side, is tired. She asked our coworker and Gaza coordinator Lina if it might be possible for his father to come for a week, so that she can go home and rest, and afterwards return. Due to policy, Monsour is only allowed one escort while in Israel. Please continue to pray for him, his Grandmother and his family.

Monsour Back In ICU With Lung Complications

Posted on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 01:00 by Theresa Hafen

Since April 1Oths update on Monsour, there have been visits, questions, concerns and continued prayers for this little person. As of our visit today, Friday the 15th of April, he is back in ICU. Doctors say that his heart and stomach are doing well but that he has continued complications with his lungs. He is being treated with antibiotics for infection and ventilators are assisting his breathing, with the hopeful outcome of continued healing and strength in his lungs. As you can imagine, his Grandmother is seeing two steps backwards, so to speak, and it is discouraging. She was more encouraged at the end of our visit today, after she received more information on how the medical staff is trying to help Monsour. We entrust Monsours life and his healing into Gods hands. Please join us in continuing to pray for this little one.