Lisa, the baby who wasn't growing
Lisa, our first ever child from East Timor, was 6 months old when she arrived in Israel for life-saving heart surgery in May 2015. She is a bright and alert baby, interested and aware of her surroundings. Physically however, she was tiny when she arrived, the size of a newborn rather than a six month old baby.
It was Lisa’s failure to grow which alerted her parents to a health problem. The village her family lives in provides only basic health services and doctors were unable to diagnose why Lisa was not growing. Lisa’s parents started to search for answers. East Timor does not have many specialist doctors and Lisa’s parents had to look hard to find an answer.
In April 2015 Lisa was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect at the Bairo Pite Clinic. With the intervention of Gift of Life International, Lisa was referred to Save a Child’s Heart to undergo life-saving heart surgery at the Wolfson Medical Center and on May 13 2015 Lisa and her mother, accompanied by a translator, arrived in Israel after a long journey from their small village.
Not only is Lisa our first ever child from East Timor, East Timor is now our 50th partner country.
Five days later, Lisa underwent her surgery performed by Dr. Lior Sasson and Dr. Yayu Mekonnen who is training at the Wolfson Medical Center to become Ethiopia’s first pediatric cardiac surgeon
Lisa is recovering well. She has put on weight and a week after surgery arrived at the SACH Children’s Home in Holon to recuperate. A few days later, with a mended heart and already beginning to put on weight, she returned home.
Congenital heart disease is responsible for more deaths in the first year of life than any other birth defects. If left untreated many children with congenital heart disease will not reach adulthood.
Sadly, there are thousands of children in the developing world who simply do not have access to the medical care they need. Save a Child’s Heart treats these children for no charge.
Every donation, no matter how small or large can help us save more children’s lives.
Photos by Sheila Shalhevet