Toddler ISIS Refugee is Recovering from Life-Saving Heart Surgery at Hadassah

Monday, Mar 30 2015

When her family fled the Islamic State terrorists in Northwestern Iraq, the chances that Maryam could have the life-threatening hole in her heart repaired were near zero. Today, however, the 18-month-old is recovering from life-saving heart surgery at the Hadassah Medical Center.

"Her situation was very complex," explains Dr. Eldad Erez, Chair of Hadassah’s Pediatric Cardiothoracic Unit. Her heart was pointed to the wrong side of her chest and her arteries were connected to the wrong chambers. In addition, because the surgery didn't take place when she was a baby, her lungs were compromised. "Normally the surgery would have been done at eight months,” notes Prof. Erez, “but there is nothing normal in this story. I don't see more than one case like this a year."

Following eight hours of surgery, Maryam is in stable condition in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, with an “excellent prognosis," Dr. Erez reports.

Maryam’s mother, Lena, who brought the child from her refugee camp to the life-saving care of Hadassah’s health professionals, relates: "I can never thank you enough. 

Lena and Maryam had made their way to Israel thanks to the Christian organization, Shevet Achim, whose representatives suggested she get to Hadassah and orchestrated the arrangements. "So many people speak Arabic here, and everyone is warm and supportive,” Lena notes. “You have given my child a future. God bless you."


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