A pregnant Syrian woman was facing an impossible decision- her own death or the death of her unborn child. She decided to save both by entering Israel to be treated at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. The decision paid off when she returned home on Tuesday with a new healthy baby boy, The Jerusalem Post reported Thursday.
In Syria, the woman’s doctor performed an ultrasound and told her a normal birth would be impossible and that a C-section would be too risky because it could lead to her death or the baby’s. Due to previous cesarean deliveries, the baby’s placenta had become entangled in the mother’s uterine muscles.
She was given a few options. The first being that she could travel north to a Damascus hospital, which had more modern facilities, or travel to Israel. She originally chose to go to Damascus, but she was blocked by the heavy fighting in the Syrian civil war.
Facing an impossible situation if she stayed in her village, the woman left her husband and children to travel to Israel for treatment.
A few days after her arrival, she was admitted to the maternity ward and to the care of Prof. Ido Solt, who praised the Syrian doctor’s diagnosis. Solt is an expert in high-risk-pregnancies and is the head of the maternal-fetal medicine division in the obstetrics/gynecology department at Rambam Medical Center.
“A normal cesarean would have been impossible, as you would have bled to death,” Solt told the mother, “We will have to do a more complicated procedure.”
Solt worked with doctors in the vascular surgery and transplantation department to plan a procedure that most likely could not have been performed in Syria. Two balloons were inserted into the mother’s uterine arteries to prevent hemorrhaging. Next, obstetricians performed a C-section, delivering a baby who was transferred to an incubator in the neonatology department. Other doctors then sutured the mother’s uterus without complications.
In the first few days in the maternity ward, the baby fought off infections. Though the mother was extremely thankful for the medical care she received, she missed her family back in Syria. She said her husband, whom she had not heard from since she left for Israel, had no idea if she had survived the operation. “Now my husband will have a wonderful surprise,” she said.
This is far from the first Syrian mother and child that Israel has aided.
Last November as part of Operation Good Neighbor, The Israel Defense Forces equipped a new maternity clinic over the border in Syria. The clinic is staffed entirely by Syrian healthcare workers using equipment donated by the Israelis. More than 200 pregnant women so far have sought medical care at the new clinic, and 30 women have given birth there.
“We took a decision not just to sit on the fence and see people slaughtered and suffering every day – we decided to help them. And we understand that it might change their feeling about Israel a little bit – that we are not Satan,” the IDF commander of Operation Good Neighbor told The Jerusalem Post.
Last year, a group of mothers and their children sought medical assistance in the Jewish state. Several of the children were suffering from shrapnel wounds; one of the children was struggling with asthma.
After they reached the other side of the fence, they were transported to an Israeli hospital for medical treatment. One mother told a television interviewer, “Everyone wants to come here. Adults too; not just the children.”
Speaking to the TV reporter, another Syrian mother said that, in the past, “Israel was thought of as the enemy… Now that you are helping us, most [on the Syrian side of the Golan] are with you. They love Israel. They see the true face… the reality.”
In addition, over the past five years, an estimated 4,000 wounded Syrians have been treated in Israeli hospitals.
[Photo: Israel Defense Forces / YouTube]