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Father: We’ve Witnessed a Miracle

Father of poisoned children gives thanks for ‘miracles,’ but says, ‘I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.’
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/28/2014, 5:36 PM

Shimon and Michal Gross speak
Shimon and Michal Gross speak
Yoni Kempinski

Shimon Gross, whose family was poisoned by a deadly pesticide last week, spoke Tuesday from Schneider Children’s Hospital.

Shimon and his wife Michal lost their two young daughters, 4-year-old Avigail, and 2-year-old Yael, in the poisoning. Their two sons, 7-year-old Chaim Michael Shlomo and 5-year-old Raphael Yitzchak Isaac, were left in critical condition after their hearts failed.

First responders found that the poison in the family's apartment - spread by a pesticide left behind by an exterminator - was at the highest levels on the spectrum.

Both of the injured boys were attached to ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) machines, which temporarily replaced their hearts’ function. On Tuesday, doctors announced that both children had been successfully removed from the ECMO devices and that their hearts had resumed beating.

“We’re going through a difficult week. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” Shimon Gross began. “To sit shiva for two children and to beg for Heavenly mercy for the other two.”

“When we came here after the funeral [for Avigail and Yael] it was the first time we had seen the boys’ condition. I completely broke down,” he recalled.

“But my wife encouraged me and said that everything is from above, that we should be optimistic,” he said.

“The doctors have been faithful emissaries, and we saw a miracle yesterday, and again today,” he declared. “The heart resumed beating."

“We’ve learned to appreciate the heart,” he continued. “We saw how the heart began beating, how the prayers, how the encouragement we got from the Jewish nation had an impact. This is the heart of the nation of Israel.”

He added, “I want to thank God for the kindness he did with us, and the emissaries here, the staff of Schneider, who have gone above and beyond, who have done everything humanly possible to help [the boys]."

“I ask that people keep praying for them, because we need a lot more divine mercy,” he said, concluding, “We have faith that in the merit of these prayers, they will leave here healthy.”

The children’s Hebrew names for prayers are Chaim Michael Shlomo ben Michal and Rephael Yitzchak Isaac ben Michal. A website has been set up (in Hebrew) to facilitate prayer based on the book of Psalms (Tehillim).