'My baby is alive thanks to Israel'

British couple living Cyprus make horrifying discovery, rush to Israel to save 3-week old baby.

David Rosenberg ,

Photo: IStock

A routine check-up for their three-week old baby turned into every parent’s worst nightmare for a British couple living in Cyprus this weekend.

When their daughter, Elsa Rose, was brought in to be weighed last Friday afternoon, a doctor noticed the baby’s lips had turned slightly blue. When he checked her heart beat, he heard what seemed to be a heart murmur.

The doctor scheduled an appointment with a cardiologist that evening, who stunned the girl’s parents with a horrifying prognosis.

“We took Elsa in at 6:30,” the girl’s mother wrote on Babycentre.co.uk, “and he performed an ultra-sound on her heart. We were then given the devastating news that our baby girl had a very serious heart problem and would require immediate surgery.”

Elsa was rushed to a children’s hospital in Nicosia, where she was diagnosed with transposition of the great arteries, which as her mother described it “means her two main arteries of the heart are on the wrong way round.”

Doctors gravely informed the couple that their daughter’s survival up to this point was miraculous, and that she required immediate surgery – or she would die.

“We were told she should not be alive and was only just because of a tiny artery and a hole that were pumping a reduced amount of oxygen around.”

But much to their despair, Elsa’s parents were told that the complicated and risky operation could not be undertaken in Cyprus.

“Unfortunately the surgery could not be done in Cyprus… we were told she would need to go either to the UK or Israel.”

Elsa’s father spent Friday night with British embassy officials to get their passports in order, but doctors noted Elsa’s condition was already in rapid decline.

“It was heartbreaking. At one point they told me she was going downhill and they could do nothing for her.”

By Saturday evening Elsa was being transported via air ambulance to Israel, while the couple’s other four children remained behind with their grandmother, who happened to be visiting the family.

At 7:30 Sunday morning Elsa was prepped for open-heart surgery at Schneider Children’s Medical Center in Petah Tikva.

After hours of tense waiting, doctors informed Elsa’s parents that the surgery had been a success and that they were optimistic about her chances for a recovery.

“We got to see her at around 2 p.m. She is now in the cardiology intensive care unit in stable condition. She’s covered in wires and heavily sedated but they say it went well. The next few days are critical.”

Elsa’s father thanked the hospital staff, and credited Israel with his daughter’s survival.

“Israel saved my daughter’s life.”

“The staff here in Israel are amazing,” his wife added.