This has been an amazing week!
It was so exciting to be a part of Remedy Mission X. It feels like I hear about new firsts every day:
We’re the first American team to come to Fallujah General Hospital since the war.
This is the first cardiac catheterization lab built in the hospital’s history.
This week was the first time the lab is used.
But most exciting of all: this is PLC’s first Remedy Mission in Fallujah. It’s been a week of history in the making!
Some of the most exciting firsts involved the groundbreaking catheterization procedures (‘caths’). We treated 12 children over the week and the first three days gave us a chance to break the cath lab in.
On the first day of the mission, we performed the FIRST diagnostic cath on 2 year-old Balkis. He has two holes in his heart, known as ventricular septal defects (VSDs). The doctors knew he had these holes because of an ECHO screening done by a local Iraqi cardiologist and verified by Dr. Kirk on our first day in Fallujah. To fix them, Balkis will need surgery. But the surgeons have to know lots of detailed information about the hole and the status of his heart and lungs. The diagnostic cath provided that information.
Balkis can now safely have surgery at any hospital because his parents can take the cath report to any heart surgeon and they’ll know exactly what they need to know!
The second day we performed the FIRST PDA closure in 13 year-old Sara. A PDA (patent ductus arteriosus) is an abnormal connection between the two biggest vessels coming off the heart. However, a simple coil placed in the PDA acts as a plug that closes the connection.
It’s incredible that such a tiny piece of metal could have INSTANT results in changing the blood flow in Sara’s heart. Before her cath, I could literally feel the vibrations of blood flowing abnormally. But immediately afterwards, her heart felt normal! Amazing! She is the first of many more children to be cured by caths in Fallujah General Hospital!
The third day, we performed the FIRST heart valve widening on 5 year old Rawan. Her pulmonary valve was too small for blood to flow smoothly which could have led to heart failure. However, Rawan was treated by a cath that used a balloon to physically stretch out the valve. Now the blood can flow normally, and Rawan can be active and play without her heart getting tired out!
All of these “firsts” were exciting for the local Iraqi medical staff, local and international news agencies, and government officials. But despite the thrill of being a part of a “first”, the greatest impact of the new cath lab won’t be seen for years to come, after countless more children undergo procedures at Fallujah General.
Each child who received a cath had their lives changed forever, especially those who received interventional procedures. To them, it didn’t matter whether they were the first or the last, it just mattered that they were able to be treated.
We have the amazing opportunity to change the course of history here in Fallujah and it’s thanks to your support—thank you for making this trip possible! We helped 12 children and spread goodwill through their families on your behalf, and we can’t wait to come back!
Our 85 suture kits are FULLY funded — Thank you for helping fund $765 worth of medical supplies!
Meet Jeen Mustafa. Jeen is currently living with Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), which affects the two upper chambers of the heart. Her disease creates a hole between the two upper chambers of the heart, mixing the blood going to the lungs with the blood going to the rest of the body. Because of your financial help, Jeen is leaving for surgery on July 18 along with 4 other children with congenital heart disease. Jeen will be receiving a non-invasive surgery through catheter, which also significantly reduces the danger of the procedure.
February 25, 2010 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Doctors accomplished the total correction they were hoping for with Muhammed. But he came to us with extremely high pulmonary pressure (in his lungs) so the coming days in ICU will be incredibly important.
Special thanks to Erica Fischer of EMF Images for partnering with us to save Muhammed’s life. At the suggestion of EMF’s Erica Fischer, Cameron and Ben (left) donated the sitting fee for their engagement pictures to the Preemptive Love Coalition to help fund Muhammed’s surgery. This ongoing partnership with EMF promises to save a lot of lives in Iraq and engage the hearts of many who thought they were just signing up for EMF’s great photography!
We know there are hundreds of you out there doing amazing stuff like this to save lives. Sometimes we just don’t know what you’re up to! Contact us.
February 24, 2010 by Jeremy · Comments Off
Muhammed’s presence in our life is a testament to the way the Preemptive Love Family Services Team has lived out our Core Values – namely, our pursuit of excellence (or constant improvement) and the way we seek to provide whole solutions for whole people. But all that sounds a little vague, so let me break it down…
In February 2009 a Kurdish soldier knocked on the door of our office. Though I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was sure I was about to be hauled in to give an account for something ridiculous. Thankfully, I was wrong. His name was Hywa and his daughter needed a life-saving surgery…. very urgently. We fast-tracked his family to surgery, but unfortunately he had already missed the optimal surgery window for his daughter when he first appealed to us. His little baby died in March 2009.
But Hywa and I formed a friendship that was somehow wrapped up in our mutual efforts to save his child’s life. When we put Honyar on that plane to Istanbul there was an initial feeling that we had both succeeded. And as I stayed back with him in Iraq, we cried together, somehow feeling like we had both failed that day she died. Of course, it was not the same grief for me as it was for him, and I would dishonor him to imply otherwise. But we celebrated, mourned, and grew together.
A few months later Hywa referred his friend Sami to us because Sami’s boy Danar was dying from a similar heart defect. We sent Danar to surgery in January 2010 and Danar can be seen doing really well after his surgery in our video of follow-up echos a few days ago.
After Danar returned from surgery, his father, Sami, referred Adnan to us because Adnan’s son is similarly facing death from extremely high pressure in his lungs as a result of two large holes in his heart.
Call it the “butterfly effect” or “serendipity” or “Providence” or a “job well done.” I’m really proud of our Family Services Team and all the work they’ve done to leave a lasting impact on families like Hywa, Sami, and… hopefully… little Muhammed’s family.
*In accordance with PLC’s desire to lend a hand-up by avoiding strict hand-outs (when possible), Muhammed’s family told us they would sell their car to help their son and ultimately gave $6,500 towards PLC’s highly-discounted surgery prices.
It’s hard to know what to say about Soma – there is so much to tell. She’s from a village in Iraq that was utterly destroyed by Saddam Hussein. Her father was tortured by Saddam’s Ba’athist regime by electric shock and now suffers neurological difficulties as a result. And to complicate it all, after losing a child on the second day of birth, Soma’s parents learned when Soma was just a few days old that she was born with a congenital heart disease.
We’re taking her to Istanbul, Turkey for what we hope will be a life-saving heart surgery.
||Special thanks to the college students of FWCM.org for their phenomenal $14,800+ two week fundraising campaign for Soma and one other child. Your passion and effectiveness in fundraising is a testament to the faith, values and lifestyle you profess. We’re looking for 12 other houses of worship, schools, and clubs to partner with us in 2010. Click here for more on our Fifty Family Focus.|
*In accordance with PLC’s desire to lend a hand-up by avoiding strict hand-outs (when possible), Soma’s family – though living in the poorest area we’ve ever seen in Iraq – was able to work with local government and family to provide $3,500 towards PLC’s highly-discounted surgery prices.
Mazyar is a cute little three year old boy from the city in Iraq where PLC has our office. Like many of the children we know about, Mazyar’s condition is very complicated. He received an operation last year in Tehran, but it was only stage one of a full-correction. PLC is coming alongside his family in this second surgery in as many years to help Mazyar receive the full correction – and hopefully the full life – that every parent wants for their child.
Mazyar also has a cleft lip. We have made inquiries into charitable surgical options for him while in Turkey, but as yet we have not made any definitive plans for a cleft correction.
NOTE: In accordance with PLC’s desire to lend a hand-up by avoiding strict hand-outs (when possible), Mazyar’s family has funded approximately $2,500 of PLC’s highly-discounted surgery price themselves.
June 1, 2009 by Jeremy · Comments Off
I just walked 16-year-old Lawen down to her cardiac catheterization procedure, where she is receiving an umbrella-like closure device inserted through the artery in her thigh to close a .55 inch hole in her atrium. This will allow her to finish school, go to college, one day marry, have kids, and grow well into adulthood.
Thanks for all of you who have contributed so graciously to Lawen’s surgery!
May 31, 2009 by Jeremy · Comments Off
We ordered an $8,000 corrective [umbrella] device and Lawen will receive her repair on Sunday night or Monday morning.
May 28, 2009 by Jeremy · Comments Off
This is a picture of Roman after surgery. This little two year old was rushed into our group at the last minute due to what the Iraqi doctors understood to be the urgency of his condition.
Just these few days later and he has been released from ICU and is playing with cars in his room, watching TV, eating soup, and doing wonderfully!
Photo: Matt Addington
Ahmed is out of surgery. His oxygen levels are already up by 25%. His future is hopefully less blue and a more healthy pink. His dad is crying tears of joy.
Dr. Çiçek at the Anadolu Sağlik Merkezi was clear that this is not a long-term, fully corrective solution; but this first surgery should allow him to finally live long enough to receive the staged surgeries he’ll need over the coming years to actually live a fully functional adult life.
We’ll update with more information as soon as we know it.