Save a Child’s Heart conducts its 5,555-lifesaving procedure on a 2-year-old Palestinian boy from Gaza

November 12, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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To date, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) has treated 5,554 children, 50 per cent of whom are Palestinian. This week, the Israeli-based international humanitarian organization will perform it’s 5,555 lifesaving procedure on little Mahmad from Gaza.


At just two weeks old Mahmad was brought to the hospital in Gaza, breathless and failing to gain weight. His mother was understandably worried, and when told that Mahmad‘s case didn’t require intervention, she insisted otherwise: “I was sure that my son was sick, that if he had access to the right treatment he could be healed”.

Thankfully, the family were made aware of Save a Child’s Heart by Dr Abdelrahim Azab, a pediatric cardiologist in Gaza and partner of Save a Child’s Heart. At 5 months old, Mahmad was referred to SACH and was brought to Wolfson Medical Center where he underwent a surgical intervention that saved his life. At the time the family knew that he might have to return for a follow-up procedure. Although hospitalization can be difficult on children and families, Mahmad’s mother was mostly relieved that a treatment plan was finally in place: “I felt so powerless before. I knew that I had to be an advocate for my son, and I was empowered by how important it was to give him the best life possible. That is one of the many reasons I am so grateful to Save a Child’s Heart – they fought for my son’s life as hard as I did. We ourselves were dependent on others for their expertise, for their financial support as my husband is unemployed. Save a Child’s Heart gave us everything we needed. They are like family to me.”

Back home, Mahmad has two brothers and one sister. His family is also expecting another child: “Mahmad’s treatment has brought great joy and relief to my family. When a child is sick it is not just the child who suffers. We are now able to live our lives as one family with the comfort of knowing that our son will be able to grow up like other children.”

Dr Sagi Assa, Head of the Interventional Pediatric Cardiology Unit at Wolfson Hospital who performed Mahmad’s life-saving cardiac catheterization procedure together with his team, acknowledged that children like Mahmad represent the best of what we do: “Save a Child’s Heart is a global family and of course, we feel deeply connected to our closest neighbours. Being able to watch our Palestinian patients grow up before our eyes, like Ahmad, brings immeasurable joy and meaning to my life.”

2021 will be the year that Save a Child’s Heart marks its 25th year of humanitarian activities. One milestone among the many that SACH has reached over the years, will be saving more than 5,500 children, training more than 140 medical team members, and opening the new Sylvan Adams Children’s Hospital & International Pediatric Cardiac Center at Wolfson Hospital.

One of the first supporters of the organization, who was there from the beginning and through his generosity continues to enable the work of Save a Child’s Heart, is Morris Kahn. Mr Kahn, the Honorary Chairman of Save a Child’s Heart International, said this week: “Save a Child’s Heart is an organization I have been supporting for many years, identifying deeply with its humanitarian values. The organization brings a lot of pride to the State of Israel in normal times, but even more in such complicated times, when the medical team members are working day and night to treat Corona patients, and yet do not give up on their important mission to repair the world, to perform Tikun Olam by saving children’s lives.“

Sylvan Adams, one of Save a Child’s Heart major donors, said this week: “Save a Child’s Heart exemplifies the true face of Israel, using our education, innovative spirit, and skills to provide lifesaving heart surgeries both in Israel and in underdeveloped countries abroad, where SACH sets up field hospitals and trains local medical team members. At its home base at the Wolfson Medical Center, SACH treats Palestinian children on a day to day basis, and children such as Mahmad are greeted by Arabic speaking Israelis, and treated with humanity by a team dedicated to their health and wellbeing. SACH’s mission is guided by the Jewish imperative of Tikun Olam, improving the world, and I am very proud to be involved in this beautiful work.”

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