As operation Cast Lead continued in Gaza and Hamas fired rockets on the south, Israeli doctors worked to help their Gaza counterparts save a newborn baby. The baby, Jafar el-Khoudry, was born with a severe heart defect and needed immediate surgery.
A Gaza doctor who realized the gravity of Jafar's situation contacted Dr. Akiva Tamir of Save a Child's Heart. The call came in at 11 a.m. Monday last week, and by the evening Jafar had been transferred to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon.
Doctors performed an emergency catheterization on the week-old baby, after which he spent several days in intensive care. His grandmother stayed with him in the hospital, while his parents remained with the rest of their family in Gaza.
Save a Child's Heart was created with the goal of improving medical care for children with heart conditions worldwide. “We really do not differentiate people by their source or their religion or what their parents do,” Dr. Tamir explained.
The group has operated on approximately 2,000 children, half of them Arab children from areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Seventy of the children treated are from Iraq.
Save a Child's Heart is currently treating more than 20 children, including eight from Zanzibar, eight from Iraq and three from areas controlled by the PA.
Besides providing free surgery, the group runs a free weekly clinic for Arab children from PA areas who suffer heart problems that cannot be treated at PA hospitals, sends surgical teams abroad to teach and to operate on sick children, and runs an training program for foreign cardiologists in Israel.