A Syrian infant who was treated for the last two months for a heart problem is to be returned to her home country this week after being treated at Rambam Hospital in Haifa. The infant, about a year old, underwent a bypass operation at the hospital after she was brought there by her grandmother.
She was just one of hundreds of Syrian patients who have been treated at Israeli hospitals in recent months. As Syrian society continues to break down in the wake of the ongoing civil war in the country, more Syrians than ever have been pressing to get into Israeli hospitals for emergency care that they cannot get at home, even during “normal” times. According to reports, at least half the country's hospitals have been destroyed, and those that remain are barely functioning.
There are no statistics available on how many Syrian citizens have been treated in Israel over the past two years, as the civil war in Syria has continued to rage, but some estimate the number to be in the hundreds. Those treated suffered from a wide variety of diseases, and among those admitted to Israeli hospitals were several pregnant mothers who gave birth in Israel. Generally, a baby born on the territory of a sovereign country is granted citizenship in that country, but Israel has not clarified its policies on this point regarding the Syrian babies.
In the current case, doctors decided to keep the infant in the hospital for several months after the operation in order to keep her under observation, due to her young age – and it was fortunate for her that they did, because she took a turn for the worse on several occasions, before being stabilized by doctors. Eventually she began to improve, until she was able to be released, hospital officials said.
According to a hospital spokesperson, the infant will need a follow-up operation in several years. “We hope that her community and home environment will allow this operation to take place,” the spokesperson said.