Israel flies in newborn Syrian refugee for life-saving heart operation

A special medically-equipped plane brought the newborn to Israel.

December 23, 2017 14:36
1 minute read.
Israel flies in newborn Syrian refugee for life-saving heart operation

Medically-equipped plane bringing a Syrian refugee newborn to Israel, December 22, 2017. (photo credit: AVIATION BRIDGE)


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A two-day-old baby born to Syrian refugee parents in Cyprus was flown to Israel Friday night for a life-saving operation in an Israeli hospital.

A special medically-equipped plane brought the newborn to Israel after the Cypriot Health Ministry made contact with the Israeli Ambassador in Cyprus, Sammy Revel, in an urgent plea to fly the baby to Israel for medical treatment after being born with a severe heart defect.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in coordination with Israeli security services and Ben-Gurion Airport officials, approached Interior Minister Arye Deri to obtain permission for the baby and his father, a Syrian national, to enter the country.

The baby was admitted to Sheba Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit at Tel HaShomer ahead of an emergency operation.

A special medically-equipped plane brings a Syrian refugee baby to Israel from Cyprus, December 22, 2017 (Credit: Aviation Bridge)

"In Cyprus, they are unable to provide every type of complex medical treatment for children, including heart operations," said Dr Itai Pesach, Deputy Director of the Sheba Medical Center children's hospital, on Saturday.

"The baby is currently in intensive care, and we have diagnosed a complex congenital heart defect. He is only three-days-old and is expected to undergo heart surgery tomorrow or the following day. After surgery, he will need to remain here for some time for monitoring," Dr Pesach added.

"He arrived with his Arabic-speaking father. We have a team that speaks Arabic so we are able to communicate with him."

A Foreign Ministry statement praised the quick cooperation that enabled the baby to come to Israel for treatment.

"We pray for the baby's good health and will keep saving lives," Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said on Saturday.

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