Mohammed's Heart Surgery


He Remembered Us!

Posted on Wed, 12/10/2014 - 13:47 by Agnes Bruna

On Saturday, our team had the privilege of visiting two of the Syrian refugee families in Jordan who came to us in Jerusalem so their children could get treatment in Israel. As Ahmad’s and Mohammed’s time overlapped for some time, we collected Ahmad’s family to go visit Mohammed’s family and have lunch there together. It was lovely to see how Mohammed's father and Abu Ahmad are still good friends.

When we arrived, Mohammed was sound asleep. The first thing we noticed, though, was the drawing of Mohammed and his father that Dany had made as one of their going-away presents. It had proudly been placed on their wall. The family was so welcoming and sweet, and they even insisted that the next time we visited, we should sleep there.


We were introduced to to Mohammed's father's eldest son, Khaled, who showed Ryan his English homework. His father is so proud of him, and Ryan had fun helping him learn to say, read, and write some more English words. They had prepared a lovely Syrian meal for us which usually is eaten with everyone sharing from a big dish right in the middle. But because we were foreign, we got the choice to have separate plates.


When Mohammed woke, we were able see how healthy he looks now. He was all smiles and happy to spend quite a bit of time in Laura’s arms. As his return home was so recent, I expect he still remembers her. Praise God for preserving his life and healing him so quickly. We are also very grateful for opportunities to maintain the close relationship built during Mohammed and his father’s time in Israel. 

A Poignant Farewell

Posted on Wed, 11/19/2014 - 19:39 by Colin Mayhew

After arriving in what was an urgent situation, Mohammed's (or ‘Hamoudi’ as he is more popularly called) progress was fast and efficient. Now, just over a month later, it was now time to say goodbye.

The Shevet community shared many kind words at the farewell party, and Mohammed's father captured our praise to God from Psalm 117 on his cell phone:

Praise Yahweh all nations, extol Him all peoples! 

For His steadfast love has overcome us, and the truth of Yahweh is forever! Hallelujah!

 A poignant reminder of their time here was the gift of a portrait of father and son, drawn by our coworker Dany.


As well as toys, Hamoudi also had lots of clothes and gifts, some of which he wore the next morning for the trip home, although he still needs to grow into them a little!

I know everyone was a bit sad that this brief relationship with baby and father had to come to an end; but with prayer and thanksgiving we committed their future to the hands of the One Almighty God.

Final Echo!

Posted on Mon, 11/10/2014 - 22:39 by Jesse Tilman

The last echo Mohammed needed before his return home was completed this afternoon. Colin, Dany, and I helped bring him to Wolfson hospital for the assessment.

Our rolly-polly baby’s last daily medicine was stopped, and his heart was declared ready to face the world permanently away from the hospital. After being here barely a month, he is soon to go home! After some goodbyes to hospital staff who know Mohammed, we made our way out of the corridors.

We ate a sunny picnic lunch on the grass outside the hospital and then headed to the beach.

Mohammed’s father has been asking to visit the beach again since his first time soon after he arrived. Today, in celebration, we got to enjoy the warm sand and cool waters of the Mediterranean.

Thank God for making it all possible with a healthy baby and a grateful father.

Mohammed's father wants to help make dinner for our community before he goes. I've seen a big difference in his awareness of others and his care while he has been here. May the good things he's seen and learned here grow in his spirit! He is scheduled to journey to Jordan later this week. Pray for patience in these final days for his family and for a smooth trip.

Father and Son

Posted on Mon, 11/03/2014 - 22:03 by Ruth Zellweger

It is a privilege and a lot of fun to have Mohammed and his father staying with us. Where they are, there is usually also joy and laughter. Seeing Mohammed cheers up everyone who comes in contact with this sweet, chubby baby.

His father is a man with good humor, who is willing to learn to communicate with us volunteers as much as possible. He picked up some English since living with us, and he uses what he knows. 

I remember when we first heard about Mohammed. His father was afraid of coming to Israel, not so much because of the country itself, but because he would be responsible for the care of his son. However, Jonathan persuaded him to come for the sake of his son's life, and he came. We have known Mohammed and his father now for exactly four weeks, and since then many things have happened. Mohammed had his open heart surgery and is healing really well. Today's follow-up echo proved that. The cardiologists were very satisfied and released Mohammed to our house with only one medication left. The following week, they will see him for the last time, Lord willing, and then let him return to his family in Jordan. Within only one month Mohammed's little life has made a turnaround. However, not only his life, but also his father's. In the beginning his father was very insecure about caring for his son. He didn't know how to change his diapers or to attend to other needs. But because he loves his son so much, he took on the challenge and outgrew himself. When you watch him now, you will see a devoted father who would do anything for his beloved son.

He gained much confidence in caring for his son and knows how to make him smile. Besides occasionally going for walks by himself, he is never far from Mohammed. I love watching this special father and son. They have made an impact on my life and in our community. 

As much as Abu Mohammed watches out for his son and wants the best for him, he is only human, and there will be times that he will fail. But how comforting to know that there is our heavenly Father, who will never forsake Mohammed nor his father. Today, we saw how He is watching over Mohammed. After we had entered the echo room, Abu Mohammed put his son on the examination table while I was talking with the doctor about Mohammed's medication. The next thing we knew was that Mohammed was crying on the floor. He had fallen off the table while his father was searching in the stroller for something. After an hour and half of observation, the doctors proclaimed that no harm had been done to Mohammed in the fall and allowed him to return to Jerusalem. We praise God for His wonderful protection.

Two Weeks and Counting

Posted on Mon, 10/27/2014 - 20:32 by Colin Mayhew

Mohammed, the attractive and amiable 5-month-old, had his first post-op echo at the hospital today and passed with distinction! One dose of his medication he had been taking is now stopped completely, and the other greatly reduced. Along with this delighted Father and those at Shevet who were following his progress, we were so pleased to get the news he is one step closer to returning to his family that is currently living in Jordan.

Despite the great difficulties they have been through, Mohammed and his Father are two people who are so good to have around, and fit in so well with the community here in Jerusalem. It is a shame this part of the relationship is closer to coming to an end, but they have found a place in our hearts, particularly at Shevet. We look forward to the time left ahead of them here with us.

We pray much for their continued physical and spiritual well-being, and give grateful thanks for another child's life saved and restored. 

"As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." Psalm 18:30

Jerusalem Welcomes Mohammed

Posted on Tue, 10/21/2014 - 17:43 by Ruth Zellweger

 photo Mohammed-JerusalemWelcomesMohammed_zps6af9b297.jpg

A smiling Mohammed and his cheerful father welcomed us today at the hospital when we arrived with baby Ahmad and his father. While Ahmad had his final echo today, Mohammed was given permission to leave the hospital to continue his recovery with our Shevet family today! Two happy fathers with their sleeping baby boys returned with us to Jerusalem.
Because Mohammed had gone from the border straight to the hospital, he and his father had not been to Jerusalem yet. It was an honor to welcome them to this special city and introduce them to our community.

Mohammed's heart is healing beautifully, and we are very thankful for how God has sustained his little life. Within a few hours in Jerusalem, he has already brought much joy to our Shevet family. We pray that both father and son adjust well to the new surroundings and that we can be a blessing to them. Thank you for joining us in prayer. 

Beautiful to Behold

Posted on Mon, 10/13/2014 - 20:51 by Nick Boyum

Although Mohammed has been in Israel for some time, and has even received his operation already, I had not met him or his father. Today that changed when I had the opportunity to visit them at Wolfson Hospital. The last report I had heard led me to believe that I would find our little Mohammed in an O2 tent. However, not only was he breathing on his own today, he had also been moved from the primary to the secondary ICU! As I stood by his bed, his father next to me beaming with pride, I could not help but think of how much love God had for this chunky little Syrian boy whose pink, healthy flesh tone I was beholding. He squirmed and hummed with life, attracting coos of love from his ever-attentive father hovering over him.

I was also thankful to meet his father, who we call Abu Haled (after his eldest son back home), who cheerfully greeted us and introduced himself to me as we arrived. I was surprised at the impressive level of his English! He practically dragged us to his young son's bedside and praised God for the new-found health his son has. He enthusiastically showed us pictures of his eldest, Haled, posing under a mat of thick black hair next to his pre-surgery brother, Mohammed. I'm sure they are all looking forward to being reunited soon. As we prepared to say farewell to them, the father made me promise to thank everyone back on Prophets Street for everything they had done to help his son. I shook his hand, kissed his cheek, and we waved farewell.

Good News

Posted on Sun, 10/12/2014 - 23:03 by Rebekah Yang

Mohammad was doing well when Jesse and I went to Wolfson ICU to visit him this morning. He was extubated at 10 a.m., and still had an O2 tent cover on his head at the beginning.

He started to move his two hands and legs a bit from time to time. Today he had a privilege of having one of the nurses take care him for whole day. According to the nurse he is an amazing boy and very special baby. She added it is unusual that he has heart defect and still maintains a body weight of nearly nine kilograms at five months old!

Jesse took Mohammed's father out for a chest x-ray, and afterward they had some time to visit the beach. Abu Mohammed appreciated the time of relaxation, as he has been holed up in the hospital for the entirety of this past weekend, extended by the start of the Sukkot holiday.

While they were out, I again went to ICU to spend an hour with our chubby, cute baby Mohammed. This time they removed the O2 tent from his head and changed to an O2 tube put on his nose; they also removed baby Mohammed’s catheter as well. Even more good news was our dear baby Mohammed did not lose any body weight after this big heart surgery; it was indeed God’s miracle to protect our baby.

Praise God for giving baby Mohammed a new heart; a new life now, a seed of good news for Abu Mohammed’s heart as well as his whole family in Jordan.


Posted on Wed, 10/08/2014 - 23:30 by Jesse Tilman

Mohammed’s surgery day came very quickly, and we were happy to see him safely through it in the midst of the Jewish holidays.

Dany and I had just sat down in his room this morning with his father and Abu Ahmad for a few minutes when the nurses came to prepare Mohammed for transportation to the surgical ward. He was lifted out of his stroller while still sleeping and awakened as he was laid in the hospital child’s bed. Not very disturbed, he groggily watched the attendant get everything ready for travel.

We walked down the hall with one wheel on the bed making such a loud racket that I wondered that it didn’t scare the boy. Maybe he was sedated already.

Down in the surgery department, Abu Mohammed was helped into some sterile clothes and went with Mohammed to the family room before surgery. Around 8:30am , a doctor took him into the next room, while a kind nurse got my help to comfort and explain the process and after-surgery expectations to Abu Mohammed. He was visibly disturbed and attempted to follow his son into surgery; however, we showed him that we would all wait in the hall nearby.

The next five hours of waiting and contemplation slowly ticked by. We spent time in getting to know each other with the little language that we share. He brought out the colors, numbers, and phrases he knows in English. I used the basic Arabic words I know. Then we got familiar with the hospital’s information screen, which displays patients’ statuses for waiting families to see. Mohammed’s ID number showed him as being “in-preparation” for a while before turning to “in-surgery” for the next few hours. Abu Mohammed spent portions of the waiting time reading the Koran and reciting prayers or talking with Abu Ahmad.

We got acquainted with some of the other families also waiting for loved ones in surgery. One Arab father and daughter especially became friends as Abu Mohammed shared with them his story of coming from Syria and finding life in Jordan. This Abu Ibrahim later paused for a photo with Abu Mohammed outside.

They exchanged contact details and hope to keep in touch in the future. Later we went outside for a smoke break for Abu Mohammed and walked in the green areas of the hospital.

At the four hour mark of the surgery, we started to watch the info screen more intensely, willing Mohammed's status to change. Things seemed to slow down, though, and the wait went on. Before one o’clock, Abu Mohammed was getting sleepy and closed his eyes. I was sitting opposite the screen and checking it now and then. About fifteen minutes after the hour, Mohammed’s status changed, and I immediately saw a hospital bed wheeled past towards the elevators. I jumped up and looked into the hall to see if it was Mohammed and saw him! I ran back to Abu Mohammed and told him Mohammed was out and moving towards the elevators, but Abu Mohammed was asleep! Feeling an urgency, I put my hand on Abu Mohammed's shoulder and spoke to him, but he was fast asleep. As I shook him a bit, he slowly started to wake and suddenly threw out his arm and grabbed my arm. I wondered if he was going to grapple with me, but he just held on while he gradually regained his senses. I did my best to explain to him that Mohammed was out and that we had to go now if we were to see him before he was cloistered in the ICU and stabilized for half an hour. I don’t think he understood, but as we shambled towards the elevators, I told him Mohammed had just gone up. Fortunately an elevator right next to the previous one opened up and we quickly went inside. Getting out on the ground floor we could see Mohammed’s bed being wheeled down the corridor. I pointed to it and told Abu Mohammed that his son was in it, and we both started running to catch up to it. He was so glad to see his son!

The doctor with him told us that the surgery had gone well and there were no worries. We walked with them to the ICU.

Waiting now was not so tough as we knew Mohammed was doing well. We went to share the good news with Abu Ahmad, and Abu Mohammed let his family in Jordan know right away too. The stabilization took longer than the usual thirty minutes, though. We found out that Mohammed had some difficulties with his breathing. Finally, we were allowed in to see him.

Then Abu Mohammed heard a summary of the operation from an Arabic speaking doctor and gave him a hug in thanks.

Thank God for a good day and a successful operation! Please join us in prayer that Mohammed would have a smooth recovery.

To Surgery Tomorrow

Posted on Tue, 10/07/2014 - 23:18 by jonathan

Today we found Mohammed sleeping angelically in the hospital, and received the shocking but delightful news that he will be taken into surgery tomorrow, just two days after arriving in Israel. Dr. Alona, the cardiologist, told us that doctors feel it best not to leave Mohammed waiting while vulnerable to cyanotic spells, particularly in the wake of his low oxygen levels while crying during drawing of blood yesterday on admission. It is unusual to see a surgery performed on the eve of a major holiday (Sukkot in this case), and we take it as another sign of the value these doctors place on the life of any and every child that reaches them. The father is most impressed and grateful!