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      Israeli Doctors Perform Heart Surgery, Save Gazan Baby

      Israeli doctors performed open-heart surgery on a Gazan baby, saving his life. "Hopefully, this is a good sign for peace," says the family.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 7/20/2011, 2:40 AM / Last Update: 7/20/2011, 6:38 AM

      Operating Room (illustrative)
      Operating Room (illustrative)
      Flash 90

      Once again, the life of a Palestinian Authority baby has been saved by doctors in an Israeli hospital.

      According to theworld.org, seven-month-old Odai Al-Kafarna from the Gaza Strip recently underwent open-heart surgery in an Israeli hospital.

      Odai’s grandmother, Haniya, is the one who brought her grandson from their home in the Gaza Strip to Israel so that he could have the surgery. She told theworld.org in an interview: “Everything is going well. They’ve been really good to Odai here at the hospital.”

      She noted that she got along well with the Israelis and that “We don’t have problems with each other.”

      Her grandson was suffering from a hole in his heart which makes the heart work inefficiently. One side of the heart was about a third larger than it should have been and was, in essence, wearing itself out.

      The only way to treat the condition was through surgery during which the hole in the heart is closed using a small piece of gortex, but doctors in Gaza are unable to perform this kind of surgery since the hospitals there are not equipped for it, despite the enormous amounts of money donated to the area. The hospitals in Israel, and the medical staffs, however, are a different story.

      Odai’s surgery was made possible through Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli-based group of pediatric heart surgeons who have saved more than 2,000 children with congenital heart defects from 36 countries including Iraq, Jordan, Sudan, and the Palestinian Authority.

      “In this case we caught it early,” Godwin Jeffrey, a Tanzanian doctor on a three-year training stint with Save a Child’s Heart, told theworld.org. “The patient will improve like any other person and will have a very normal lifespan.”

      He noted that without surgery, Odai would probably not live very long, but noted that his prognosis “is very good.”

      After receiving a clean bill of health, the baby and his grandmother returned to their home in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, 20 days after having arrived in Israel. The family told theworld.org that they are very grateful to Israel for treating Odai.

      Mahmoud, one of Odai’s grandfathers, recalled the days before the intifada when PA Arabs from Gaza interacted with Israelis on a regular basis.

      “Hopefully, this is a good sign for peace,” he said. “Maybe a family like ours one day can go visit a sick relative in an Israeli hospital. And maybe, relations between Palestinians and Israelis, eventually, will get back to normal. That’s what we wish for.”