“For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’” (Deuteronomy 15:11)
It is rare to find two women from Gaza, within weeks of each other, with their unborn child facing life-threatening problems necessitating the expertise of Israeli specialists at Rambam Health Care Campus—but that is what happened.
Two and half weeks ago, “A” from Gaza, 29 years old and pregnant with her third child, was brought to Rambam. She was suffering from a problem common in pregnancy—Rh incompatibility—a condition in which the mother and fetus have two different blood types and which can result in the mother’s antibodies harming the red blood cells of the fetus. However, in “A”’s case, the problem was not detected in time—both she and her unborn child were in danger.
Professor Ido Solt, head of Rambam’s special unit for high risk pregnancies, explains: “A’s problem was not detected nor treated on time; she was in critical condition and both she and her unborn child were in danger.”
Two days after being admitted, “A” gave birth during the 33rd week of pregnancy. However, things became even more difficult when her premature son was found to also have a congenital heart problem. “A” had two small children waiting for her back in Gaza. One week after his birth, “A” had to make the difficult choice of returning to Gaza to care for her children. Her premature son remained in the care of Rambam’s medical staff.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” Yazid Falah, the Palestinian Patient Coordinator at Rambam shares. “Naturally the mother wants to stay with her baby. But in this case she is there and he is here. We are doing everything we can to help her feel as close as possible to her son.”
A few days ago the infant underwent successful surgery for his heart defect. The infant is gaining strength, and his mother remains in contact by phone on a daily basis until she can return to Rambam and bring him home with her.
One Arrived—Three Returned
Just before “A” arrived at Rambam, a 35 year-old woman in her ninth month was brought to Rambam from Gaza, also in extremely critical condition. Carrying twins, “H’s” condition was so serious that she was barely aware of her surroundings. Since childhood she had suffered from a blood clot disorder. Now that disorder placed her in extreme danger of bleeding to death—she needed special care and medications not available in Gaza.
Upon arrival “H” underwent a C-section to save her firstborn children—a healthy boy and girl—each weighing 2.3 kg. However “H” remained in critical condition and was sent to the intensive care unit (ICU). It would be two full days before she was alert enough to ask about her babies. Every day the medical staff took new photos so that she could see how they were. After one week in the ICU “H” saw her children for the first time. “I still remember when I left from Gaza to come to Israel,” “H” reminisced. “The doctor said that my situation is very critical. During those first two days before I fully woke up, I couldn’t contact my family and they thought I was dead. Until I saw my children for the first time I did not understand myself what had happened. Only when I saw them and held them did I realize that everything was now OK.”
For “H,” the birth of her twins has been a great comfort. A few days ago, two-and-a-half weeks after arriving at Rambam between life and death, “H” said goodbye to Rambam and the people who cared for her. “H,” smiled and said, “My entire family is waiting for us, everyone wants to get to know them and hold them. This is the happiest day of my life.”