Two girls from Iraq who suffered from severe congenital heart defects have been saved by surgery at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon as part of the Save a Child's Heart program.
Santa Maria, six, a Christian Kurd, arrived via Jordan in early September with her mother. She was diagnosed by an American physician in Iraq who contacted the voluntary organization. Senior pediatric cardiologist Dr. Akiva Tamir studied her medical file and agreed that she would undergo free surgery by Dr. Leon Sasson, Save a Child's Heart's primary surgeon. A serious kidney defect was detected, leading to another operation to eliminate the need for dialysis. Both operations were successful.
Hawara, two, from Basra, came with her father in early November. Sasson operated on her as well, and she is recovering nicely.
Upon their discharge, the girls and their parents will stay in the Save a Child's Heart hostel in Azur with children from Zanzibar, Ethiopia and Nigeria, together with volunteer doctors and nurses from abroad training to take care of them.
Over the past 10 years, Save a Child's Heart has arranged operations for more than 1,600 children from 26 countries and 600 from the Palestinian Authority.