On my taxi ride home tonight I thought through what needed to end up on our blog before we ended our day. Some days that’s an easy question to answer because of what happened, whether it was multiple surgeries to celebrate, or the full recovery of yet another child. Today, both of those things happened and we’re thrilled about it!
But what made today hard was when we heard that Mohammed’s surgery was pushed back yet another day.
Mohammed, his family, and all of us expected his surgery to take place last Friday. Unfortunately, we couldn’t know how long each surgery would last and we couldn’t anticipate the local shortage of blood products; the limited supply of certain medical instruments; or an influx of emergency cases that have come seeking Remedy. In any case, Mohammed’s surgery was pushed to Saturday.
Then it was pushed to Sunday.
It’s 10:30 PM on Sunday night and Mohammed must wait yet another day to be admitted to surgery. Mohammed is not being overlooked. In fact, it’s because our team from the International Children’s Heart Foundation refuses to overlook any child or settle for anything less than the best that certain children have required more time and attention than originally planned.
It’s because of this team that each child has received a near perfect correction and followthrough each day, no matter what the expense and no matter how long it takes.
But that doesn’t make it any easier for Mohammed’s mother and father as they grow weary of waiting. It’s certainly not easy for two year old Mohammed who wasn’t allowed to eat or drink for 12 hours today as his surgery was delayed and then post-poned.
“When will you save my son?” I heard it repeatedly today. It wasn’t out of anger or bitterness, it was simply a mother who cares so deeply and longs for the healing of her son.
If I was in her position, I doubt I would respond with such grace; especially if the person across from me couldn’t give an answer.
Mohammed is scheduled to receive surgery tomorrow (Monday), but even when he receives his surgery there are still so many more that are waiting and hoping for another Remedy Mission. Even if we were able to operate on 50 children this week, we would still have to turn people away at the door. If we operated on 1,000 kids, more would still have to wait.
It breaks our hearts a thousand times over, but at the same time it makes our hearts stronger. It strengthens our resolve and lights a fire within us to continue to do what we’re doing.
We refuse to be content in a country that has a backlog of thousands of children who are in desperate need of heart surgery. We refuse to sit by and let them die. We can not accept the fact that there isn’t enough training among Iraqi doctors to save these children.
We believe that these Remedy Missions are the missing link we’ve been reaching for these last three years.
And we believe we can work together with the people of Iraq and with the rest of the world to train Iraqi surgeons to care for their own so that we do not just address the backlog of Iraqi children waiting for surgery as we know it today, but rather work toward serving every child from this point forward who is born with a heart defect. We can help empower and strengthen local doctors and nurses and this first Remedy Mission makes it clear that YOU can continue to make this a reality.
Kids like Mohammed are the reason why we are already dreaming and beginning to plan future Remedy Missions across Iraq. And they are the reason we are raising money for not just one more Remedy Mission, but for dozens in the coming years.
So we are fighting for Mohammed and his parents today and we will fight for another child and his family the next day and we plan to keep on fighting until every Iraqi family has access to the lifesaving heart surgeries that their children need to live.
Will you donate to make these parents’ beautiful dreams a reality?
Remedy Missions are international pediatric heart surgery teams that we bring to Iraq to to perform lifesaving heart surgeries and develop the infrastructure for the future. If you’re on Twitter this week be sure to use the #Remedy or #RemedyMission hashtag to describe all the good news coming out of Iraq this week via @preemptivelove and @babyheart_org. If you’re on Facebook, “Share” this story with the button below.