Doctors, nurses, social workers and staff at an Israeli hospital came to bid farewell and celebrate the discharge of a seven-year-old Syrian girl who had been treated for wounds she suffered from a shell striking her stomach in her war-torn native country.
The girl, known as F., suffered her injuries last November when she was collecting wood for the fire at the refugee camp where she had been living with her mother. She told the doctors at Safed’s Ziv Medical Center that she hadn’t heard the explosion but only felt heat in her stomach. Her mother said that she rushed F. to get medical treatment, but the local doctors that if she wanted F. to live, she must get her somewhere with electricity and proper medical facilities.
“I feared for her; she’s my only daughter,” she shared. “When I saw her in such a condition, I feared for her life, and I wanted to die with her.”
Within a few hours, F.’s mother arrived with her daughter at Syria’s border with Israel, where authorities rushed her child to Ziv Medical Center’s new pediatric surgical unit. While she was initially concerned bringing her daughter into the Jewish state, the mother soon know that she had made the right decision.
Dr. Lili Lunsky-Hayari, Head of the Pediatric Surgery Unit at Ziv, treated F. She explained that when F. arrived, her abdominal wall had been ruptured, she had suffered injuries to her internal organs and her left wrist was broken.
“A few hours after she arrived, we carried out the first operation, but we didn’t manage to close her abdomen,” the surgeon recounted. The hospital contacted Dr. Moris Topaz, Head of the Plastic Surgery Unit at the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in Hadera, who had developed a unique method for closing the abdomen.
Lunsky-Hayari summarized that with Topaz’s assistance, “after slightly over a fortnight, we succeeded in our task, and the girl began to heal and recover.
F.’s nationality was inconsequential to the surgical team, the pediatric surgeon added: “The only thing that I saw was the fact that there was a critically wounded girl, her mother’s only daughter, and that was the only thing that I thought about during the treatment. There was a curious moment at one point when I realized that during the Yom Kippur War, I had been in the village that the two come from.”
The medical team treating F. said that they delayed her discharge until she had completed her treatment and rehabilitation. An Israeli girl in a similar situation would not have spent so long in the hospital, but as the doctors realized that back in Syria, she would have no access to proper medical care in case of complications during her healing.
The Ziv Medical Center stated that since 2013, it has treated nearly 1,000 wounded from the fighting in Syria.