In Memory of Dr. Ami Cohen, z"l
Save a Child's Heart Endowment Fund
.. our hospital says that recovery after an operation is unexpected. We are unable to pay and hope to find a chance of free medical treatment in a foreign country that can save my daughter.
Meanwhile her health is poorer and poorer, Her complexion is pale, she has difficulty breathing and her legs are very weak. We search on the internet daily, hoping to catch a straw of any life.
We beg you to be concerned about our immature daughter, in the hope that the warmth of the sun should be fair to everyone, and that our daughter will never leave her mother so early, moving alone to the dark residence of the God of death ......
i think that with the help of people of kind heartedness my daughter will obtain a new life...
-a helpless mother"
Coincidentally, a team of Save a Child Heart doctors who were operating on sick children in China heard about the child through our Executive Director, Simon Fisher, who was instrumental in bringing the sick baby and our team together in China. Unfortunately her problem was so severe that the Save a Child's Heart team could not help her in China, so El Al made special arrangements for Save a Child's Heart to fly her to Israel for her life saving operation.
The child's heart surgery was successful and she returned with her mother in time for the Chinese New Year.
Thank you for joining Us In Making The Miracle Happen !!
In March 1998 I accompanied several members of the SACH surgical team to China where we cooperated with a local medical team in Ganzu province near the Mongolian border. We had been invited to perform cardiac surgery on a mostly adult population and did not bring along surgical equipment for infants. During the course of our stay we had to decline requests to operate on babies, but were planning a trip for the following year to concentrate solely on pediatric cardiac surgery .
Suddenly 10 month old Pin Sa Juan showed up on our doorstep. He was suffering from a relatively minor defect - the valve on the vain that leads pulmonary blood to his heart did not shut properly. This is a common congenital disorder and relatively easy to repair.
But lacking the requisite instruments for his tiny veins, this "standard" procedure became nearly impossible.
Using sound medical judgment, our team refused to risk the baby's life by performing the procedure with inadequate equipment.
I felt that something had to be done for this helpless infant who might not survive until we returned next year. I pleaded with our doctors and they agreed to weigh the options once again.
It was a night I will never forget. I kept on thinking about this little child for whom help was so close, yet so far . When I saw Dr. Cohen (head of the surgical team) in the hall early the next morning, he admitted that the thought of abandoning little Pin Sa Juan in that condition kept him awake as well. He agreed that it was worth taking the chance to try and save this precious life.
The sight of three surgeons working on the little body would have been funny if it weren't so serious.
Dr. Cohen used what equipment was available to him in the local hospital and what we had brought along with us. With a bit of creative improvisation we managed to pull it off! We prayed that nothing would go wrong and our prayers were answered. The operation was a success and we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Somewhere in the vast land of China, there is a little boy who is alive in part due to my tenacity and the skillful efforts of a unique surgical team. I will never see him again, and he will never know who we are, but this story renewed my appreciation of the age-old proverb.
"To save one life is to save a whole world!"
"To save one life is to save a whole world"
To some people, the word "no" is just not an option. Because this mother refused to accept "no" as an answer her little boy in Moldova is alive today.
Vasily Pahomi was examined for the first time in 1996 when the Save a Child's Heart team held its first preoperative clinic in Moldova, examining children with heart defects. Although he was only a few months old his condition was quite advanced and we couldn't take the risk of flying such a young, sick child so long a distance. As difficult as it was, we informed Vasily's mother that we would be unable to care for him.
Fortunately for Vasily, his mother didn't accept that. She returned home and sold her farm in order to pay for the air fare to come to Israel. To this day we don't know how she did it. One afternoon she turned up at our door with her five-month old baby in her arms and made it clear to us in a language none of us understood that we were going to make her baby well again! And that is exactly what we did.
Initially we conducted a palliative procedure. A shunt to facilitate the flow of blood was placed between Vasily's heart and lungs. The results were positive and immediate. Vasily's skin turned to a normal pink instead of the light blue his mother thought was normal. We stayed in touch with the local doctor handling these cases and at the age of two, Vasily arrived in Israel for a definitive operation. He returned to Kishniev a totally healthy child. It is ironic that Vasily's mother, who doesn't know the difference between an auricle and a ventricle was a primary figure in keeping her son alive.