Hadassah revives teen after cardiac arrest: 'They fought like lions'

“The doctors and other medical personnel fought like lions. I can’t describe our feelings when her heart beat once again."

Tags: Hadassah
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Donia with brothers and Dr. Gil Dagan
Donia with brothers and Dr. Gil Dagan

The Mashasha family from the Jerusalem neighborhood Beit Hanina woke early on Sunday morning May 24. They were celebrating Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday which ends the month of Ramadan. Later they were looking forward to eating the traditional breakfast of vermicelli and dates.

Then they heard a crash coming from their daughter Donia’s room.

The 17-year old was lying unconscious on the floor. Her face was blue. Her brother, who had learned first aid in school, couldn’t find a pulse.

Dad Ziad made a quick decision: it would be faster to drive Donia to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus three miles away than to wait for an ambulance.

There was no traffic early in the morning. Her brothers gave her CPR all the way to the hospital.

Still, with horror, her family saw that the heart monitor showed a flattening line.

A dozen doctors and nurses worked to revive her for more than half an hour. Finally, Donia’s heart began its steady beat.

“The doctors and other medical personnel fought like lions,” said Ziad Mashasha. “I can’t describe our feelings when her heart beat once again. They saved my precious girl. They brought her back to life.”

Doctors Momen Abbasi, Akiva Brin and Gil Dagan led the fight for Donia’s life.

“As soon as we revived her, we sent her for comprehensive tests to ascertain the cause,” says Dagan from the Cardiology Department at Mount Scopus. “We also put her through a cooling process designed to prevent or minimize brain damage by reducing brain activity and giving it time to heal.”

Donia had no warning of heart disease. She was a star athlete, working out regularly and playing team soccer.

A day later, she woke up. Two days later, she could breathe unaided and communicate with her grateful parents and brothers. Ten days later, she left the hospital with no neurological damage.

“Her being an athlete really helped in her recovery,” says Dagan.

Before she left Mount Scopus, doctors installed an S-ICD subcutaneous defibrillator that provides protection from sudden cardiac arrest. If it detects heart issues it emits an electric shock to minimize the risk of heart failure.

Dagan praised Donia’s family and her brothers’ administrating CPR which helped prevent brain damage.

The praise is mutual.

“Now, when we see our daughter on her own two feet, we know it’s because of the professional treatment,” says father Ziad. “I thank all the staff and particularly Dr. Gil Dagan who was there for us every inch of the way.”