Israeli Hospital Removes Bullet From Syrian Child’s Neck (VIDEO)
Surgeons at Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center recently saved the life of a 5-year-old Syrian boy hit in the throat by a stray bullet during fighting in the southern part of that country, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported Wednesday.
The boy was lucky, according to his doctors, because the bullet passed very close to a cranial blood vessel, and the surgery to remove it was complex and long.
A week ago, the boy was out on the street with his father when shots were heard. While running for cover, the bullet struck the boy’s face, entered through his right cheek and then towards his neck. His father rushed him to the IDF’s field hospital set up in the Golan Heights alongside Syria, and, from there, the two were evacuated to Rambam.
Doctors at the hospital performed tests to locate the exact location of the bullet: it had penetrated the pharynx and tongue, and lodged in a particularly dangerous location adjacent to a main artery.
“We explained to the father that his son was very lucky, because the bullet stopped before hitting an important artery,” according to Dr. Saleh Nasir, a specialist in the hospital’s Department of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery and one of the doctors who operated on the child.
“We explained that even this is risky and challenging – but the bullet had to go,” Nasir added, speaking of the two-hour procedure to dig out the bullet.
“Even during the surgery, we were very concerned,” Nasir said. “It was not clear if the bullet was clogging a blood vessel, and that the moment we removed it, heavy bleeding would occur. Fortunately, that did not happen.”
Outside the operating room the worried father waited, until he heard the good news.
“He hugged us and thanked us for saving his son,” Nasir said.
“The child was very lucky. A few more inches down and he would have died instantly. Now he is recovering from surgery, and in a few days could be discharged.”
In a similar story, a 12-year-old Syrian boy arrived recently at an Israeli hospital with injuries to his arms, leg, and eyes sustained from a mortar attack on his home near Damascus.
The boy was led on a donkey by his brother up the slopes of Mt. Hermon to an IDF base on the mountain, from where Israeli forces evacuated him to Ziv Medical Center in the northern Israeli town of Safed. A spokesperson for the hospital told Tazpit News Agency that the boy is the latest of 358 injured Syrians to be treated there in the last year and a half, most of them victims of the Syrian civil war.
Since the outbreak of the conflict, a total of some 1,200 Syrian medical refugees have received treatment in Israeli hospitals, according to the IDF. Among these is a large proportion of young adult males, some of whom are tacitly understood to be combatants fighting for various sides in the war. Gil Maor, a spokesperson for the Safed hospital, stressed that the hospital “does not ask questions” about the origin of the patients, telling Tazpit that the hospital receives “everyone who comes.”
“We don’t check where they’re from,” he added. “We are a hospital. If someone comes in an ambulance to us for treatment, we take them.”
A letter from the country’s Ministry of Health, sent on September 29th, 2014, in response to a request made under Israel’s “Freedom of Information” Act, lays out the sums, in shekels (NIS), of four medical centers in the north:
- Western Galilee Medical Center, Nahariya: 13,315,260 NIS
- Seiff Medical Center, Safed: 12,640,741 NIS
- Rambam Medical Center, Haifa: 3,031,414 NIS
- Poria Hospital, Tiberias: 3,500,000 NIS
Watch a video of the experiences of an IDF paramedic working in the army’s field hospital on the Syrian border:
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