Gaza child, 5, gets life-saving heart surgery in Israel

With the help of Save a Child's Heart foundation, Amir Yahya Mabukh was brought to Israel to remove a life-threatening blockage from his heart; 'He loves it her, he didn't want to go back to Gaza,' says his mother

Meir Turgeman|
A five-year-old child from the Gaza Strip has recently undergone a life-saving surgery at a hospital in Israel, it was revealed Monday.
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  • Amir Yahya Mabukh from the city of Jabalia was suffering from a congenital heart defect that could have led to heart failure.
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    אמיר יחיא מבחוח
    אמיר יחיא מבחוח
    Amir with father and grandmother
    (Photo: Tomer Neuberg)
    According to his family, the child contracted the flu when he was two months old. His mother, Maha, took him to the family doctor, who diagnosed the baby with a birth defect due to a blockage in one of the arteries of the heart.
    The doctor told Amir's parents about the "Save a Child's Heart" foundation, which facilitates the transfer of children from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank to Israel to have life-saving procedures.
    "We were happy to hear about that option," his mother said. "Everybody in Gaza say Israeli doctors are the most professional in the world and can be counted on. The doctor helped us contact the foundation and we began the process."
    The procedure was conducted on Sunday, which coincided with the World Children's Day. The open heart operation took place at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, with Amir escorted by his grandmother.
    Incidentally, this wasn't Amir's first time in Israel. "He was in Israel once for a diagnosis," his mother said. "He loved the games he could play at the hospital and told me he didn't want to go back to Gaza."
    2 View gallery
    אמיר יחיא מבחוח
    אמיר יחיא מבחוח
    Amir on the operating table
    (Photo: Tomer Neuberg)
    Since its inception in 1995, the Save a Child's Heart foundation has flown over 6,000 children to Israel for similar procedures from all over the globe, including some third world countries with no official ties with Israel.
    Director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Department at Edith Wolfson Medical Center Dr. Hagai Dekel said: "The surgery was designed to remove the blockage from the left ventricle. Untreated, it could compromise the heart valve and be life threatening. We attached the child to a heart and lung machine, opened the Aorta, and removed the blockage, which was a thick tissue, via access to the heart valve.
    "The operation lasted three hours and the child is currently recuperating in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit."
    Amir's grandmother was overjoyed: "My grandson gets a new life with the help of people I never thought would help him. Borders and politics are irrelevant. The child's health comes first. He has a new life now."
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