Israeli doctors save Syrian mother, baby who came to Israel for treatment

The expectant mother with pregnancy complications was brought through the ‘humanitarian gate’ just in time.

March 8, 2018 15:19
2 minute read.
Syrians in Israel

Syrians cross the border into Israel to received medical care in Israeli hospitals.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)


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A Syrian woman who was recently given the choice of dying or having her unborn son die decided to try saving both. The woman – facing almost certain death from a high-risk pregnancy – entered Israel through the so-called “humanitarian gate” from Syria, and was treated at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

She returned home with her baby son on Tuesday, and both are doing well.

The woman’s doctor in Syria told her that her placenta had become entangled in the uterine muscles due to previous cesarean deliveries. He explained the terrible significance of the ultrasound scan he performed: A normal birth would be impossible and he was not willing to perform a C-section that would almost certainly lead to the mother’s or the baby’s death.

When the woman asked if there was anything she could do, he said she could travel north to a modern hospital in Damascus or try to reach the Israeli border and request admission to a hospital. She chose Damascus but was turned back at roadblocks due to heavy fighting in Syria’s civil war.

Nearing the end of her ninth month of gestation and refusing to accept her own or her baby’s death, she parted from her husband and children and headed south. Two weeks ago, tired and in pain, she crossed the border. A few days later, she was admitted to Rambam’s maternity ward where Prof. Ido Solt – an expert in high-risk-pregnancy and head of the maternal-fetal medicine division in the obstetrics/gynecology department – praised the Syrian doctor’s diagnosis.

“A normal cesarean would have been impossible, as you would have bled to death,” Solt told the mother, “We will have to do a more complicated procedure.”

Working with colleagues in Rambam’s vascular surgery and transplantation department, the doctors planned a procedure that would have been almost impossible to perform in Syria. Two balloons were inserted into the mother’s uterine arteries. Once they were inflated, the balloons prevented hemorrhaging. After that delicate procedure, obstetricians performed a C-section, delivering a premature baby who was placed in an incubator in the neonatology department, while doctors safely sutured the mother’s uterus.

The baby overcame infections during his few days in the maternity ward. The mother told nurses how thankful she was and that she missed her family very much. She said her husband, with whom she had not been in contact since leaving home, did not know if she had survived the operation. “Now my husband will have a wonderful surprise,” she said.

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