Israel

Israeli, Palestinian Doctors Work Together to Save Baby Born with Heart Defect

Doctors at both Israeli and Palestinian-operated hospitals joined forces to save the life of a Filipino baby boy in Jerusalem, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

On February 14, Francis Joseph was born at the Red Crescent Hospital in East Jerusalem with a rare and serious heart defect, which required a complicated and risky open-heart surgery. The so-called “Jatene procedure,” which the Palestinian-operated hospital did not have the necessary facilities to perform, was however possible in Hadassah Hospital in the capital’s Ein Kerem neighborhood.

When Dr. Julius Golender, a pediatric cardiologist at the hospital, received an emergency call from his colleagues at the Red Crescent Hospital, Golender consulted immediately with his fellow pediatric cardiologists from Hadassah, Dr. Juma Natshe and Dr. Sagi Gavri, who together came up with a plan to save the baby’s life.

They first stabilized the newborn’s critical condition by performing a procedure known as a cardiac catheterization before moving him to Hadassah Hospital for open-heart surgery. The Jatene procedure is named for its creator, famed Brazilian cardiologist Dr. Adib Jatene, who first performed it successfully in 1975.

“I was surprised when suddenly these experts from Hadassah showed up at the Red Crescent Hospital, and in my view it was a miracle,” said Nina, the mother of the boy, who wanted to be identified by first name only.

“We did everything we could possibly do so that it would be possible to perform surgery on the newborn baby in Hadassah and fix the heart defect that he was born with, which had caused this extremely complicated medical condition,” said Gavri, soon after the catheterization.

The successful surgery took a little over five hours, according to the hospital.

The baby’s mother, Nina, thanked the doctors and the hospital for stepping in and performing the life-saving surgery on her son. “We were undoubtedly very lucky that Hadassah got involved and saved my child and my family,” she said.

A few weeks after the surgery, Francis Joseph was discharged from the hospital and allowed to go home. When he returned to the hospital a month later for a checkup, his doctors said he was “in good condition, active and smiley.”

[Photo: Gilad Adin / YouTube ]