A Heartfelt Hand Saves a Life

A quick-thinking Israeli doctor saved the life of a stabbing victim with a primitive technique. He stuck his fingers in the hole of his heart.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu , | updated: 10:01 AM

Dr. Moaad Farraj
Dr. Moaad Farraj
Israel news photo: Rambam Medical Center

A quick-thinking doctor at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center saved the life of a stabbing victim by using a primitive technique that might be seen in an old Hollywood film. He stuck his fingers in the hole opened in his heart.

The drama unfolded when the victim, in his 20s, was rushed to the hospital’s trauma unit with what appeared to be fatal stab wounds in his heart. Although he showed no signs of life, doctors managed to resuscitate him, but then they discovered the knife attack had left a hole in his heart that left him with virtually no chance of survival.

The victim’s life was literally in the hands of Dr. Moaad Farraj who simply stuck his finger into the hole of the heart as the patient was rushed to the operating room.

“When the young man arrived, he showed no signs of life,” Dr. Farraj related. He explained that in most cases when people reach the trauma unit, the medical staff prepares to replace the lost blood that is caused by wounds.

In the case of the stabbing victim, the knife wound had left a hole in his heart, leaving it without any blood, much of which already had covered the victim’s lungs. Doctors’ attempts to inject blood into the body were of no avail because the blood immediately flowed out of the heart – until Dr. Farrraj closed the hole with his fingers.

Within 10 minutes after the victim’s arrival to the hospital, the medical staff managed to bring him to the operating room on a stretcher.

The operation was complicated and delicate, according to Dr. Farraj. The victim’s wounds were so serious that his heart failed four times during the operation, requiring resuscitation.

“It is amazing that the victim survived against all odds following the incident. People with wounds such as he had usually die on the spot and do not manage to get to the hospital alive," he explained.

After the successful operation, the patient eventually was transferred to the intensive care unit (ICU). Several days later, he was able maneuver on his own.