Israeli Doctors Perform Life-Saving Heart Surgery on Syrian Refugee Child


sheba-medical-centerFour-year-old Mahmoud runs up and down the corridor of the Pediatric Cardiology Unit at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer. He was born with a rare, life-threatening heart defect – his right and left ventricles were reversed – and had not been expected to live more than a few years.

His father says, “We always heard in the Arab media how children from Gaza and the West Bank were receiving medical treatment in Israel.” With the help of a Christian organization called Shevet Achim, Mahmoud was taken to Israel for surgery. “The operation is called a double switch because we use a highly complex procedure to change the direction of the ventricles and the arteries,” said Dr. Dudi Mishali, director of pediatric cardiac surgery at the hospital.

During the eight-hour operation, a state-of-the-art pacemaker was implanted with a battery that will last much longer than other pacemakers, since no one knows when Mahmoud will be able to receive regular follow-up medical treatment. He was supposed to stay under observation for two weeks in the intensive-care unit. But just two days afterward, he amazed everyone by jumping out of bed and running among the hospital units.

Mahmoud’s father says every day he is there, he is surprised by the treatment he and his son receive. “All our lives, we were taught to love one person and hate another. Now the one we learned to love is trying to kill us, and the one that is supposed to be my enemy has saved my son’s life.”

{ Israel News Bureau}