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Israel Health & Medicine:
Save a Child's Heart

Health & Medicine: Table of Contents | Magen David Adom | Hadassah

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Save A Child's Heart, based in Holon, Israel, is the largest undertaking in the world providing free critical pediatric heart surgery and follow-up care to children from developing countries, regardless of background. Save a Child's Heart was founded in 1995 by the late Dr. Amram "Ami" Cohen, an American immigrant to Israel, born and raised near Washington, DC.

Save a Child's Heart brings children from developing countries to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv, to be operated on by a volunteer staff of Israeli doctors and nurses. They have treated children as young as a few days old and as old as teenagers. Despite the hardships they face, Save a Child's Heart has a stunning success rate of 96%.

As part of the process, Save a Child's Heart also brings in medical personnel from the patients' countries and trains them in life-saving pediatric cardiology and follow-up care. Since 1995, Save a Child's Heart has treated almost 1,000 children from the Palestinian Authority, Ethiopia, China, Nigeria, Zanzibar, and many other nations. An Iraqi baby with serious heart problems was brought to Israel (via Jordan, as the Iraqis refused to make a direct flight to Israel) in late 2003. The Israeli doctors (including the son of Iraqi Jewish immigrants) provided medical services unavailable in Iraq and operated on her for more than 21 hours, without cost to her family.

In June 2016, a 4-year old boy named Sanusey from Brikama, Gambia, became the 4,000th patient saved by the team at Save a Child's Heart. He arrived in Israel on May 15, 2016, and underwent emergency surgery the following morning after collapsing at the Wolfson Medical Center in an exam room.

Fourteen month old Yehia, born with his main arteries reversed and two holes in his heart, became the first Afghan child ever operated on by Save a Child's Heart, in August 2016. Utilizing social media, Yehia's family and supporters arranged for travel to Israel from his parents home in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Yehia received the $7,000 surgery free of charge.

Save a Child's Heart is an all-volunteer organization funded by donations from around the world.

Sources: Save a Child's Heart;
ABC News
Parade Magazine
“4-year-old Sanusey from Gambia is the 4,000th child saved by Save a Child's Heart,” IMRA (June 16, 2016);
Diaa Hadid, “Unlikely Facebook Friendship Saves Afghan Baby With Heart Defect,” New York Times, (August 15, 2016);

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