Mohammed's Heart Surgery

Kurdistan, northern Iraq

Trusting the Good Shepherd

Posted on Wed, 02/08/2017 - 23:45 by Ruth Zellweger

"The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul." Psalm 23

This evening our Jaffa community said goodbye to Mohammed and his mother. They had only been with us for ten days. During that time the doctors at Wolfson hospital had carefully examined Mohammed and performed several tests to get the complete picture of the anatomy of Mohammed's heart and lungs.

After evaluating all the test results they came to the conclusion that Mohammed is not a good surgical candidate, and that in fact surgery would very likely lessen his life expectancy. 

This news was of course very difficult for his mother to accept.

We had met yesterday afternoon with the senior cardiologist, and he explained all the facts that led to the medical team's conclusion. At some point, the mother started crying and did not take in any more information. She seemed in despair. Mohammed was invited back to the hospital this morning for a final check by the pulmonologist. He had prescribed an inhalation treatment as they suspected a chronic lung problem in addition to other issues. The inhalations improved his breathing within short time, which was good news. However, the pulmonologist also confirmed that there is no help available to improve the condition of Mohammed's lungs. His mother asked several times if there was a treatment available, but we had to repeat that there is none. 

The other families currently with us rallied around Mohammed's mother to support her during that difficult time. And our Shevet community also came together to prepare a farewell for Mohammed. Even though he had not had surgery or any other intervention, he and his mother are dear to us. Of course the atmosphere was not as joyful as during other parties, but our aim was to speak truth and hope to Mohammed's mother, encouraging her to trust our heavenly Father, who is the good Shepherd. He is leading well - in green pastures, as well as in the deep valleys that Mohammed's family is experiencing currently.

Our coworker Sean was able to accompany Mohammed and his mother home to Kurdistan, where they found Mohammed's father waiting at the airport early Friday morning: "They shared many heartfelt thanks and appreciation for Shevet Achim and what we were able to do," Sean writes.  "It might not have been the exact outcome that we anticipated, but we serve in a place where it is not about us and what we can do anyways. It is only God who can heal and bless these children and even though with man this is impossible, we know that with God all things are still possible (Matthew 19:26)."

A Big Day at Wolfson

Posted on Thu, 02/02/2017 - 21:59 by Alexa Bigl

We headed over to Wolfson at 7:15 this morning for Mohammed's heart CT scan. Despite that he had been fasting since 2am, he was happy and seemed excited for the adventure. Once we arrived to the children's ward, the nurses got Mohammed set up with two IV cannulas. This really upset Mohammed and he demanded his mother carry him around for the next thirty minutes. Although during these thirty minutes Mohammed was sleeping in his mom's arms, if she tried to lay him down or sit down herself, he would wake up with crying. 

Luckily, we were soon called down to the CT room where we waited just a few minutes before we brought Mohammed in for his sedation medication and scan. Once Mohammed was asleep, his mother and I sat outside the scan room. After a little while, we were allowed to go in to see him. Mohammed was just waking up, and lazily looked around as the medication wore off. We then headed to the recovery room down in the operating theater suite. 
Mohammed was later allowed to come up to the ward for continued monitoring. There were no complications and he peacefully slept on the bed next to the monitors until it was time to take out his cannulas and head home. 
Just at the end of my hospital day, Dr. Alona took some time to talk to me. She had just reviewed the CT scan and the test conclusively showed Mohammed does not have a left pulmonary artery. The cardiology team will still discuss Mohammed's case, weighing pros and cons of doing a surgical intervention or not. Please join us in praying for wisdom for the doctors as they review the situation and make vital decisions. Also, we will be praying for Mohammed's mother, that she may have peace and understanding during the time of waiting to hear back from the doctors. 

Difficult News

Posted on Tue, 01/31/2017 - 17:03 by Ruth Zellweger

Early this morning Mohammed and his mother went again to Wolfson hospital, this time for a thorough echocardiogram. Because of his age and the likelyhood of him crying during the procedure he received some medication that put him to sleep.

Soon after he was called into the room where both Yfat, the echo technician, and Dr. Alona assessed his heart carefully.

Afterwards they explained to us that Mohammed's condition and outlook for successful repair does not seem so good. The x-ray that was done yesterday revealed that he has serious problems in his lung due to a huge pulmonary artery and lacking of a functioning pulmonary valve. They also could not visualize the left pulmonary artery with the echo and will need more assessments to get a better understanding of the anatomy of Mohammed's heart.

Mohammed is scheduled for a CT-angiogram on Thursday morning. Please pray for this precious young boy and his sweet mother, who is very gentle. When I shared with her what the doctors had explained she wept silently.. We hope that our Shevet community can offer encouragement, support and friendship to mother and son as they are continuing with different tests. 


Smiley Mohammed Arrives

Posted on Tue, 01/31/2017 - 07:13 by Christelle Fonjallaz

Today I met Mohammed for the first time!

He arrived in Israel with his mother this morning and he was already at the hospital when I came. Mohammed was playing with a little thing he had found and had lots of fun with it.

The doctors came for the first tests, it was a little bit difficult but in general Mohammed was smiling. He's a really smiley litte boy - you just have to smile at him or play a litte bit with him and it's enough for him to give you a wonderful smile! After the first tests we had the blood test. This one was really difficult. It seems like it really hurts him and he was crying all the time!

Then, we had a long wait before the x-ray test but everything did well and we are now back at Shevet's home with Mohammed and his mother! It will be great for them to have a good rest before tomorrow because we will be back at the hospital for new exams! The new exams are an echo and PPD.

We pray that they have a good rest for tomorrow and that they can feel good with us in Tel-Aviv! Thanks for praying with us!