(Communicated by the Rambam Health Care Campus
Pregnant women in Gaza rarely need to turn to Israel for medical help since medical care is available in Gaza before and throughout their pregnancies. It is even rarer that two women from Gaza, within weeks of each other, find themselves and their unborn child facing life-threatening problems necessitating the expertise of specialists at Rambam Health Care Campus - but that is what happened.
Two and half weeks ago, “A”, 29 years old and pregnant with her third child, was brought to Rambam. She was suffering from a problem common in pregnancy - Rh incompatibility - a condition in which the mother and fetus have two different blood types and which can result in the mother’s antibodies harming the red blood cells of the fetus. However, in “A”’s case, the problem was not detected in time - she was in critical condition and
both she and her unborn child were in danger.
Two days after being admitted, “A” gave birth. However, things became even more difficult when her premature son was found to also have a congenital heart problem. “A” had two small children waiting for her back in Gaza. One week after his birth, “A” had to make the difficult choice of returning to Gaza to care for her children. Her premature son remained in the care of Rambam’s medical staff.
“It’s a very difficult situation,” Yazid Falah, the Palestinian Patient Coordinator at Rambam said. “Naturally the mother wants to stay with her baby. But in this case she is there and he is here. We are doing everything we can to help her feel as close as possible to her son.”
A few days ago the infant underwent successful surgery for another common condition: patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), in which a vessel in the heart does not close. The infant is gaining strength and his mother remains in contact by phone on a daily basis until she can return to Rambam and bring him home with her.One Arrived - Three Returned
Just before “A” arrived at Rambam, "H", a 35 year-old woman in her ninth month, was brought to Rambam from Gaza - also in extremely critical condition. Carrying twins, her condition was so serious that she was barely aware of her surroundings. Since childhood she had suffered from a blood clot disorder. Now that disorder placed her in extreme danger of bleeding to death - she needed special care and medications not available in Gaza.
Upon arrival “H” underwent a C-section to save her first children - a healthy boy and girl - each weighing 2.3 kg. However “H” remained in critical condition and was sent to the intensive care unit (ICU). It would be two full days before she was alert enough to ask about her babies. Each day the medical staff took new photos of the infants so that she could have a record of their first days once she recovered.
After one week in the ICU “H” saw her children for the first time. “I still remember when I left from Gaza to come to Israel,” “H” explained. “The doctor said that my situation was very critical. During the first two days before I fully woke up, I couldn’t contact my family and they thought I was dead. Until I saw my children for the first time I did not understand myself what had happened. Only when I saw them and held them did I realize that everything was now OK.”
For “H,” the birth of her twins has been a great comfort. A few days ago, two-and-a-half weeks after arriving at Rambam between life and death, “H” said goodbye to Rambam and the people who cared for her. “H” smiled and said, “My entire family is waiting for us, everyone wants to get to know them and hold them. This is the happiest day of my life.”