Syrian Father Tells Israeli Doctors ‘Save My Son, He’s All I Have Left’
An estimated 130,000 people have been killed in Syria, and millions have been displaced during the past three years of war. During that time, Israel has been at the forefront of providing medical care to wounded Syrians – with approximately 700 Syrians having been treated at Israeli hospitals and the IDF field hospital along the Israeli-Syrian border.
Six weeks ago, a Syrian father and his 6-year-old son, “K,” who was in critical condition, arrived at the Rambam Health Care Campus, after a devastating explosion that destroyed their Syrian home. “K”s sister and mother were fatally wounded and died of their injuries in Syria.
Accompanied by his father, the six-year-old was evacuated with his 11-year-old brother from Syria to Rambam, but his brother died on the way.
Upon arrival “K” was rushed into surgery where the doctors spent hours fighting for his life. The force of the explosion had caused severe swelling of his brain, leading to severe intracranial pressure. Subsequent surgeries over the following days required the removal of parts of the skull bone to make room for his swollen brain and allow it to heal. For almost three weeks, “K” lay unconscious in the pediatric intensive care unit at Rambam, carefully monitored by the concerned staff. Slowly the pressure was reduced. “K” finally regained consciousness and began to communicate.
“When the child came to Rambam he was comatose and almost dead,” says Dr. Sergey Abeshaus, a senior neurosurgeon at Rambam, who performed the surgery on the boy. “I remember I met with his father before surgery and he said to us, ‘Do all you can to save him, he is all I have left.””Ž
After undergoing two more surgeries to reattach the bones in his skull, “K” was moved to the pediatric surgery unit. A speech therapist, nose-ear-throat specialist, physiotherapist, and more then worked with “K” via a variety of exams and therapies to help him regain as much function as possible. “Ž
Three days ago “K” was released into his father’s care, standing and walking on his own feet.
“Ž”As the only Level 1 trauma center for Northern Israel, and one of the largest hospitals in the country, Rambam has a lot of experience dealing with these types of injuries,” Dr. Abeshaus said. “Ž
“Unfortunately we treat a lot of children with head injuries as the result of traumatic accidents such as falling from great heights. In this case we used our experience to save a little boy who came from a war zone when he was hovering between life and death. Like all the families of the children we treat, we parted from K’s father as good friends. Eventually we did exactly as he had asked—we did all we could do to save his son. We hope he has a very long and happy life.”