The Good & The Bad: A Report On One of Our Remedy Kids Who Did Not Make It Through

We strive for transparency here; not marketing or public relations fluff.

At the beginning of our Remedy Mission we chose a few children to feature on the website. At that time, we did not know which ones would survive and which ones would die; who would have an easy course and who would have a most difficult course. We chose them for reasons of timing, dramatic tension, and relational connectivity.

One of the families that was NOT chosen for feature, was actually concurrently featured by a photographer friend that we hired for some of the other work on Remedy Day #1. Jon Vidar had been out to meet Samal and her family weeks before Remedy Mission formally began. Jon was eager to see Samal get the surgery she needed. When he began her story for his personal project, we all had assumed and hoped that she would be one of the ones who benefited greatly from the surgery.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way.

Push play above to watch Jon’s excellent piece above to learn more about the situation in Iraq, our Remedy Mission solution, and Samal’s story in particular.

The one thing the ending slide does not capture with enough nuance is the bitter fact that Samal’s brain probably died before a knife was ever laid to her chest after her oxygen levels crashed to 10% for approximately 12 minutes.

In that 12 minutes the O.R. team prepared her for surgery, opened her chest, and put her heart on the bypass machine, but she was without oxygen for far too long before they could intervene; they feared she was brain dead. They proceeded with the surgical correction for her heart and took precautionary measures after surgery to give her the greatest chance at recovery, but Samal never pulled through; she was probably too far gone before the surgery technically began. 

There are no words or stories, prayers or personal presence that makes a loss like this more palatable. It’s dark and horrifying for the family; and, to a lesser degree, for those of us who invested a tiny bit of ourselves in Samal and her well-being. There are no good words to wrap up a post like this… but there are more stories of hope to come.

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.

Video by Jon Vidar.