Riley International Heart Missions

Amman Riley/Rotary GOLA final updates

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Wanted to share with everyone these updates and pictures from the children last week ..especially Rua’a who had the most difficulty all week so I didn’t have much to post about her. (Photos all courtesy of Ruba Karadsheh)

Well..she was extubated yesterday and looked good today with saturations 84%!! Hoping she is able to start feeding and then get out of the ICU soon. So happy to see those gorgeous big eyes again!

Khadejeh, Adam and Yaseen were discharged from the hospital on Saturday!

Above: Adam

Above: Yaseen

Khadejeh escaped before they could get her picture !

Noralain, Joury, Maher and Ahmad were all discharged yesterday! They were playing with balloons and gifts the GOLA members brought them for their farewell party!

Above: Joury and Noralain becoming friends ❤️

Noralain and her aunt Magda

Above: Joury

Above: Noralain trying to walk her way out of the hospital

Above and below: Maher

Above: Ahmad

Karar went home today (he was our last case on Thursday before we left)

9 of the 10 children have been discharged …and hopefully Rua’a is not far behind

Thank you for following this mission’s blog❤️

Written by drannefarrell

March 12, 2018 at 9:55 pm

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Amman Riley/Rotary VTT with COH and GOLA final goodbye

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Our Riley Heart Team just finished the 6th Trip under the current Rotary International Global Grant (co-sponsored by RC of Greenfield and RC Amman-Petra, local Rotary Clubs of Jordan, Palestine and many clubs in Cyprus, UAE, Armenia, Sudan and supported by GOL Amman and overseen by GOL International) and finished operating on 10 children from the region including Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Jordan. So many more lives have been saved because of Chain of Hope’s partnership in these missions. This was our 23rd trip for the Riley Team to Amman over the last 11 years and we are so thankful this amazing partnership.

We want to give special thanks to all our partners:

GOL Amman (GOLA) and the board members, especially chairman Na’el Mushrabash and his wife Ruba.

Special thanks to Laila and Diala, Ramzi and all the board members for their hospitality to our team.

GOL International and CEO Rob Raylman for all his support and arranging to come to the fundraiser and mission in person.

Chain of Hope and their amazing partnership thank you to Oroyo Eubanks and Katy Woolley, Emma Scanlan and Lucy Osaack. Thank you to Melissa Cortizo for your work in filming these missions and sharing these children and their families’ stories.

RC Greenfield, Indiana and RC Amman-Petra for your work and support of the global grant ; Dr. Stephanie Kinnaman for your guidance and work on these mission trips.

Al-Khalidi Hospital and the staff of the OR, ICU, pharmacy and nursing staff. Their time, commitment and talent to these mission trips is invaluable.

Dr. Khaled Salaymeh, he has worked tirelessly for 11 years on this partnership and work and we cannot thank you enough for everything you do.

Our families, friends, work colleagues for allowing our team time away to perform this important work -we couldn’t do any of this without your support.

And lastly …I want to thank our amazing Riley team…

Dr.Mark Turrentine for his leadership, passion and commitment to this important work …your skills and healing hands are magical and have given life back to so many broken hearts.

Dr. Kamal and Dr. Samer for giving us a glimpse of what it’s like to return to your native countries to give back care and passion to these families …what a gift to watch you work amongst families that are not given access to care that we are used to here

Melissa and Kristin…for being seasoned veterans in providing your expertise of care and skills ..even though this was a new culture and environment for both of you ..thanks for giving your hearts and souls to this mission and the families

Thanks for following on our journey and the blog…until next time

Written by drannefarrell

March 10, 2018 at 4:10 am

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Amman Rotary/Riley VTT with COH and GOLA day 7

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Our last day of the mission …and it wouldn’t be a mission without at least one major hiccup! We arrived at the hospital to be informed that Kararr, our 10th patient for the week…scheduled for our first case this morning… ate a full breakfast ….😩

So….we are postponed for the time being and deciding whether we can get this case done today..we have to wait minimum 4-6 hrs until after he ate.

We decided to take Maher, our first case of the mission , to the OR and put in a permanent pacemaker. He has remained in complete heart block, so we will take the opportunity with time this morning and get that done. He had a dual chamber pacemaker placed and will be able to be followed here in Jordan by an electrophysiologist.

Below: Maher off to the OR for pacemaker

Yaseen did well overnight and will transfer to the floor today.

Below: Yaseen being examined on rounds by Dr. Kamal

Rua’a was not extubated this morning . She still is having some issues with retaining carbon dioxide and needs to get more nutrition and stronger before we can get breathing tube out.

Ahmad is doing well..will get him up walking today and then probably down to the floor later today.

Below: Ahmad up and walking the hallways with his family-he peeked in our office to visit us😄

Noralain did very well overnight/she was blowing everyone kisses this morning. She also was ready to walk the hallways and it was amazing to see her with enough strength only POD #1 to be cruising up and down the hall. She still needs assistance to walk or hold onto the wall-but I’m sure within months she will be walking on her own.

Joury isn’t very happy this morning but after we gave her her Riley bag and gifts she was a little happier.

Above: Joury happier when watching a video with her grandmother . Below: a visit from GOLA chairman Na’el

Adam and Khadejeh are roommates down on the floor. Adam looks fantastic, probably needs one more day of diuretics and then will go home tomorrow . Khadejeh has her chest tube removed today and will likely go home tomorrow as well. Adam was walking up and down the hallway , and he is beyond entertaining for us , and then Karar, our patient for today, started playing with him in the hallway. They were so cute throwing the soccer ball back and forth.

Above: Milli getting some documentary film of Adam

Above: Samer and Adam

Above : Milli and her new friend Adam

Below: Adam walking the hallway and fascinated by Karar

Above: Adam and Khadejeh are again meeting after surgery -they are roommates! (We are still working on match-making them)

Mark being interviewed by Reuters news for a story on Karar today. They plan is to follow Karar’s story from the start to when he travels back home after the operation.

Above: Na’el being interviewed by Reuters for the story on Karar.

Karar Basem Jeber Kate’a, 10 yr old with Down syndrome, and has a twin brother, has TOF; he is originally from Al Emara, Iraq and now living in a a poor area of Jordan after his family fled 2 years ago when their son was almost kidnappped by ISIS. He has 5 brothers including his twin. He finally went to the OR about 11:30 am (4 hrs after he ate) for his operation. He has a lot of extended family here with him, including his twin brother, who is very sweet with him.

These were Karar’s saturation’s in the OR at the start of surgery (74%)

And this was what they improved to after his repair! (100%) His operation went well -valve -sparing surgery and closed his VSD and ASD.

Above: Dr. Muhammed talks with Karar’s family and updates them after his surgery

We made our final rounds for the week by visiting the patients one last time. We couldn’t resist watching Noralain one last time walking down the hallway–Mark couldn’t believe it -24 hours post-op!!

Below: our good friend Claude Toma came to visit our team and the kids this afternoon

Above: Our team lined up like a parade route watching Noralain walk the hallways

above: Dr. Riad and Dr. Rania from back home in the USA Face-timing with Noralain! They took care of her during her first operation in September, 2017.

Above: final picture with the ICU staff, head nurse Rami (who’s office we literally took over from him all week) the nurses and our team! Shookran Al-Khalidi hospital

The end of the evening was spent enjoying a magnificent dinner hosted by our very good friend Ghada Nasereddin, wife of our beloved friend Moustafa, whom this mission is named after.

The above picture is in honor of Internationl Women’s Day-which couldn’t be more fitting with the amazing group of ladies..from many different cultures and nationalities..all brought together for one amazing cause!!! Proud to be a part of this amazing group (note there is one suspicious character in the picture !😉)

❤️Meet Moawiya Ali

Moawiya “Mo” is the head of the OR and a perfusionist and he thought I forgot him… But he is an impossible man to forget. He is the glue that holds the OR together and makes our lives and job when we are here for mission trips run so much better and smoothly. He always accommodates our team, gets 2 rooms when we need them, provides staff and help whenever we are doing cases-even when they run late or on days off. Mo is from Jordan, went to University here in Jordan and then did additional perfusionist training in the Netherlands and Belgium. He has worked as a CV perfusionist at Al-Khalidi hospital for 24 years and has been head of OR for 5 years! He has worked with us on every mission trip since the very beginning as is part of our family. He is married and has 4 children, ages 19,17,14 and 10. He has recently been enjoying working out and has many outside interests ,especially spending time with his children. We cannot begin to thank and appreciate this man for all he does to have these trips run smoothly.😘

❤️❤️Meet Khaled Salaymeh

What can I say about this man…he is one very special doctor. He has been the heart and soul of these mission trips since before the beginning. He screens the patients for potential candidates for surgeries, performs cardiac caths, and takes care of the patients once our team is gone…as well as generally jack-of-all-trades. He practices pediatric cardiology throughout many hospitals in Amman, primarily at Al-Khalidi hospital and has been there for 15 years.

He was born in Kuwait, is Palestinian nationality and has lived in Jordan with his family for many years. His parents live below his apartment/ house and he has 2 brothers, one who is a stick broker in the USA. He did his undergrad and medical school in Jordan. He then went to the United States and did Pediatric residency in Omaha, Nebraska. He then went to Cincinnati Children’s for his pediatric cardiology fellowship. He married Rania, his wife, who is also from Jordan, and their first 2 children, Hannah age 19 and Jamal age 17, were born in Ohio and are US citizens. Hannah is a sophomore at University of Massachusetts Lowell and studying engineering. Jamal is a senior in high school In Jordan and he is planning on studying next year college in the US and maybe going to medical school. Indiana University is on his list of possible schools !👍🏻Jude (age 16) is a sophomore in high school and interested in medical school as well. Because she is not a US citizen (she was born in Jordan), she may go to university in the UK. Othman, their youngest is 10 and very close with his dad.

He is my partner, an honorary Riley colleague, and my very close friend. He is a humanitarian, kind and gentle man with sick children and trying to change this world with one heart repaired in a child at a time❤️❤️😘

Above: Kal Making his infamous homemade kanafe

Above: Kal and his daughter Jude at his pediatric review conference

Above: Kal and his daughter Hannah

Kal and his buddy Mr. “O” (his son Othman)

above: Kal and his beautiful wife Rania

Above: De. Khaled at work performing beside septostomy

Always promoting peace …✌🏻

Above: Kal and his “Riley”team

Written by drannefarrell

March 8, 2018 at 10:23 pm

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Amman Rotary/Riley VTT with COH and GOLA day 6

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Everyone did well overnight…

Rua’a needed to be reintubated last night but was stable overnight with saturations in the high 70’s to low 80’s. We will keep her intubated today, treat her for pulmonary hypertension and diurese her and then try and extubate her tomorrow.

Khadejeh did well overnight, less fussy and taking food this morning. She will transfer to the floor later today.

Above: team with Khadejeh and her father

Maher is doing well clinically but still in heart block so need to make a decision tomorrow about permanent pacemaker and possible timing.

Ahmad (below) and Yaseen, the patients from yesterday both did great overnight. They will have lines removed today.

Ahmad’s father likes to take pictures with the team!

Below: Yaseen being entertained by his father’s phone 😄

Ammar (below) will be our first patient to go home today. 4 days after surgery and he looks great! He even spiked his hair today 😂

Oroyo (Chain of Hope) saying goodbye with Ammar

Adam (below) will likely go home tomorrow and is in such a happy mood!

Below:Kamal keeping the staff entertained !

Noralain Nasr Abdulqader Al went to the OR this morning as our first case. Remember she has TOF and will have her valve opened, thick muscular area below the valve enlarged and her VSD closed. Her Aunt Magda had a hard time separating from her in the OR…she is a wonderful lady who has taken over her medical care. She told us Noralain and her parents live in the same housing unit as she does back home and that Noralain has a baby brother named Abdullah.

posted on Chain of Hope today :

A very special case for us today.

Noralain from Yemen.

Pic on the left: when we first met her in August 2017. Severely ill, blue, unable to walk and breathe normal. She was lifeless.

We did the first operation on her and fast forward 8 months later – pic on the right she’s looking so grown and beautiful and able to move herself around.

Today Noralain is back in the Operating room for her second and final surgery with Dr Mark Turrentine.

Help us wish her a speedy recovery.

#chainofhope #mendinglittlehearts #children #cardiac #charity #refugeechildren

She was extubated almost immediately from returning to the ICU…and her saturation’s are now 99%!!

Below: look how pink her lips and fingertips are now!

Our second case today is Joury Belal Altman Abuhashesh (which means rose or flower 🌺 ) she is an almost 3 year old from Madaba, Jordan. She has a large ASD secundum (hole between atrium), dilated right heart chambers.

She was extubated shortly after returning from the OR.

Below: Joury with her motherfg

Our last case of the mission is a 14 year old boy names Kararr with Down syndrome from a town south of Baghdad, Iraq. He came to see Dr. Kal and was just diagnosed with his heart disease 3 days ago. He has TOF with narrowing below the valves and saturation’s around 78-80%. He will get operated on tomorrow morning.

We finished the evening with another excellent dinner with the GOLA board members, COH and GOLI at Dunia rooftop restaurant! It was another outstanding meal👍🏻

Ended the night with lots of fun dancing with the group !! 💃🏻🕺🏼

❤️❤️❤️Meet our Al-Khalidi OR staff

Dr. Sami Rababa

He is anesthesiologist who has been working with our missions for 10 years at Al-Khalidi hospital . Previous to that he worked at the army hospital for 27 years. He wa born in Jordan and did his medical school training in Russia, as there were no medical schools in Jordan at that time. He then did his residency for anesthesia in the UK. He came back to Jordan to practice for several years and then did additional training for a year at Brompton, UK in peds CV anesthesia. He does anesthesia for all types of surgeries, but mostly enjoys CV. He is married and his wife is a former pharmacist. They have 2 grown sons-both are living in the US in Kansas City and are now American citizens. One son is a computer engineer and works for Cerner (electronic medical system) and the other is an auto engineer.

Hanan Abu-amer

Hanan is our OR scrub nurse. She has been working at Al-Khalidi Hospital for 5 years and prior to that at the Army Hospital Queen Alia Heart Institute where Dr. Sami also previously worked. She is a retired major in the Army. She has been an OR scrub nurse for over 22 years. She did a year of special certification in the US at an Anaheim hospital in California for CV surgery OR nursing. She is from Jordan and is married with 3 children-ages 25, 23, and 20. Her oldest son studied telecommunications and works for Zain, her middle daughter is in her 5th year at University and studying electrical engineering and her youngest son races cars! Hanan loves to travel but has never been back to the United States since her studies there many years ago.

Hani Al-Atrash

Hani is a CV perfusionist. He is from Jordan and has worked at Al-Khalidi hospital for 22 years! He has worked with us on the majority of missions, working side-by-side with our own perfusionists from our team. Hani is married and has 4 children-2 teenagers 17 and 16, and a 10 and 6 year old.

above: Hani helping our new team member Kristin get acclimated

Written by drannefarrell

March 7, 2018 at 9:35 pm

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Amman Rotary/Riley VTT with COH and GOLA day 5

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Rua’a had an okay night but still up and down with oxygen levels so we took her early first thing this morning to the OR.

Mark did cut down of the femoral vein in her leg to gain access.

Then Kal was able to pass the balloon septostomy catheter up into her atrium across her small hole (ASD).

Below: size of ASD on echo (TEE) prior to balloon (2nd picture blue color crossing atrial wall)

We inflated the balloon and pulled it across the septum several times to essentially tear the tissue and make the opening larger -this allows for more of the oxygenated blood to get to the other side and it to the body. The hole was indeed bigger after we were done and her saturation’s rose from mid-60’s to 81% when we were done !! 😄

She went back up to the ICU and thankfully we did not need to put her on bypass. Hopefully now she will continue to have better oxygenation and may even work toward getting her extubated later today.

Above: Drs. Kamal and Samer working hard to get Rua’a settled in after her septostomy

Above: Rua’a was extubated and awake this afternoon

Above: our new team members..Kamal, Melissa and Kristin are fitting in perfectly!😄

Our first surgery for the day is Ahmad Ali Khalaf, 14 yr old boy with Down syndrome from Syrian and living in refugee camp in Jordan has an AVC defect and mitral stenosis. He has elevated PA pressures, and would get blue and short of breath when he tried to play. Hopefully the membrane or ring obstructing the mitral valve, once removed will improve those pressures.

(Photo courtesy of Oroyo Eubanks)

Mark did find a supravalvar mitral ring of tissue restricting the opening to the mitral valve, so he removed it -as well as closing the VSD and ASD (2 holes between upper and lower chambers -what we call an AV canal defect).

Above: supravalvar mitral ring tissue

Above: close-up of looking at mitral valve through atrium

Ahmad went to ICU and was extubated a few hours later…of course, asking for a jug of water !

Above: Oroyo and Ahmad’s father

The second case of the day is Yaseen Abdulhakeem Rmaidh from Ramadi, Iraq. He is an 18 month old Down syndrome little boy with a partial AVC (meaning he doesn’t have any significant hole between the bottom chambers (VSD) and has a hole between upper chambers (ASD). We have done so many variations of AVC defects this week -everyone should now be experts in this heart disease !😄

Yaseen has a hole between the upper chambers that was closed, partial cleft in mitral valve repaired and did well.

Kristin was able to run the bypass machine during the 2nd case today and this was our most efficient day yet!! 3 cases done by 3:00

Yaseen’s parents with his at the bedside as he arrives back in the ICU

As for our 4 other patients…Maher is doing great and his temporary pacemaker is set to a low back-up rate. We will likely give his own rhythm more time to see if he will need a permanent pacemaker or not….but he is doing great. He kept me entertained for over an hour last night while we were working in his roommate. He doesn’t need toys to play with-just cords and chest tube containers 🤣

Ammar has his chest tube removed this morning and is much happier.(although he still smiles all the time regardless!) He has been up walking the halls already today and will likely go home tomorrow.

Melissa and Kamal removing his chest tube

Khadejeh has been taking a bottle like she never had one before in her life! I’m hoping she gains weight now !! She will spend another day in ICU and then probably go to floor tomorrow.

Adam moved down to the floor this morning and will probably get his tube out today as well.

Katy Woolley from Chain of Hope arrived last night and joined our team today! This is our 3rd mission with Katy and so excited she’s back working with us!

Our first patient for tomorrow is Nourelain…which means “light of the eye”. She is a 2 year old from Yemen who is here with her auntie Magda. Her parents basically gave up hope on her and she was taken in by her aunt. You may recall that Nourelain was seen by the team during the September, 2017 mission. She has Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) with such a narrower flow to lungs. She was so cyanotic that she hardly moved and had no energy.

This is picture of her before surgery last fall. Notice the purple coloration of her feet compared to someone’s hand.

She was too weak to walk so she had to be carried and her legs are bent in because she was so weak she lost muscle mass.

She had a patch put in her RV outflow tract, RV muscle bundles resected so she could get better blood flow out to her lungs. Her surgery, though, was not fully completed at that time to give her lung vessels time to grow. We ran into her at the airport and couldn’t believe she was the same child. She was pushing herself all over the airport on her scooter and is pulling up to stand and walking around furniture !

Tomorrow the plan is to close her VSD and either repatch and open her narrowing to lung artery , or may need a pulmonary valve conduit. Milli and the chain of Hope team are continuing their documentary on Nourelain.

After we finished at the hospital , we left relatively early to get back to the hotel to prepare for the GOLA gala fundraising event at the Four Seasons.

It was a beautiful evening with a heartfelt story from a mother who’s child our team operated on last year. Great to see all the people that make these life saving mission trips together in one place celebrating all these achievements.

❤️❤️Meet Ruba Karadsheh and Na’el Musharbash

Since tonight is the GOLA Gala fundraising event, it’s only appropriate that you meet the power couple behind the event !

Ruba and Na’el are husband and wife team that lead GOLA and organize our mission trips.

Na’el is the chairman of GOLA. He has been in this role for 2 years and he and Ruba do a fabulous job organizing these trips, getting VISAs for children to come to Jordan, arranging medical visits, transporting families and housing them while they are here, and most importantly supporting , feeding, transporting our medical team.

Ruba is originally from Jordan and she met Na’el at a Xmas party after graduating from University in Cyprus! 🎄In her spare time, she is an interior designer, splitting time between Amman and Oakville, Canada. They have 2 children- oldest son Farah is a 3rd medical student in the USA at Washington University in St. Louis and may want to go into surgery. Their daughter Noor is in her 3rd year university in Canada and studying dietetics.

Na’el is originally from Jordan as well, although born in Amsterdam, his mother is Armenian, and went to university in Jordan and works at in Amman. He is an civil engineer and has a construction company building malls.

Ruba comes to the hospital and OR almost daily to check on the surgeries and the families ❤️

Written by drannefarrell

March 6, 2018 at 9:12 pm

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Amman Riley/Rotary VTT with COH and GOLA day 4

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Another beautiful morning in Amman…the team is settling in to at least a more normal sleep pattern and the jet lag seems to have subsided a bit.

We began rounds in the ICU.

Maher is still being paced but looks very good otherwise. He will have to stay in the ICU until we determine if his heart rhythm returns to normal, although he isn’t totally pacemaker dependent.

Above: Maher

Khadejeh is still on the ventilator this morning, but had a stable night so the plan is to remove her breathing tube today.

Adam looks great this morning. He was very happy when he was finally able to take a bottle-much happier boy! He will likely go to the floor today -POD #1!

We went down them to the floor to see Ammar, our 2nd case of the mission who was moved there yesterday. He is still all smiles and enjoyed posing with our team. He looks great today and hopefully will get his chest tube removed today.

Rua’a, our baby with transposition, VSD and abnormal coronaries went to the OR first thing this morning.

(Photo credit above Oroyo Eubanks)

Below: Kristin prepping for the first case of the day

Oroyo and Milli are also following and documenting her story this mission for Chain of Hope. They spoke with Mark before the surgery and then mic’d him during the operation .

After Mark opened her up and carefully inspected and assessed her coronary artery anatomy, he decided the safest thing at this time is to wait until she is bigger to possibly perform an arterial operation. It is likely able to be done, but at her small size now, and the way her coronaries are positioned, the might be too much stretch and not enough distance to reposition the coronaries , posing not insignificant risk that she may not do well if we did this now. Waiting gives her a safer outcome and better chance at a good repair. So we decided to palliate her today to give her better oxygen levels by banding her pulmonary artery and forcing more oxygenated blood out the aorta , and also giving her a shunt for more pulmonary blood flow. Her saturations after the operation were still low, even though they started before surgery in the 50’s. Since it did not improve, we tried to open up her atrial septum (enlarge hole between upper chambers) so that she gets better mixing of oxygenated blood without going on bypass. We didn’t make the hole huge, but a little bigger than when we started.

Ahmad Ali Juma’a Khalef was scheduled for our second case today, but we decided to postpone him until tomorrow. He is a 14 year old boy with Down syndrome, originally from Aleppo, Syria who lives in the refugee camp in Azraq, Jordan. He has an ASD primum, VSD, and significant narrowing (or stenosis) of his mitral valve causing pulmonary hypertension. He had a catheterization yesterday to determine his lung artery pressures. He will be somewhat higher risk because of this, but he needs his defects closed and the mitral valve opening better. We are hoping the restriction is due to a ring/or tissue above the valve limiting its opening. He is a very sweet teenager with parents who love him very much—so much so that his father was not embarrassed to give Mark a big kiss on the forehead for helping to save his son ❤️

This is Yaseen Abdulhakeem, he is an 18 month old from Ramadi, Iraq, with Down syndrome and a partial AVC defect who travelled here for surgery with his parents. He will potentially be the second case tomorrow.

We had some fun taking pictures with Nourelein and her auntie in her room. She is from Yemen and waiting for surgery later this week to hopefully have her surgical correction. She has TOF and arrived very blue last fall, so she had an RVOT patch and muscle bundle resection done during the September, 2017 mission.

Above : Samer and Kamal are part of Nourelein’s fan club (led by Dr. Riad who first met her last September, 2017 mission)

Above: Milli and Oroyo are here documenting her story as a continuation from the September 2017 mission.

Lunch today was an interesting treat …Sheep tongue, liver and brain sandwiches 😳

We had many Rotarians and board members of GOLA visit and bring gifts to the children today! They are a very special group people who do so much for the children , the families as well as our team !! Shookran

Rotarian members with Ammar!

The afternoon went on with Rua’a’s oxygen levels still not being adequate. So we decided to attempt a bedside septostomy to open up her atrial septum more.

We had quite a difficult time getting access into her veins, and since her saturation’s were a little better, so we decided to wait until the morning and see how she looks. We may need to take her back to the OR first thing and do a surgical atrial septectomy. Headed home about 9pm after along day at the hospital…

❤️Meet Mohammed Ghanamah

He a congenital heart surgeon who’s parents were born in Palestine. He was born in Jordan and studied adult heart surgery in Iowa and congenital heart surgery at Washington University for 1 year and then at Emory University for 1 year. He then moved to Saudi Arabia and is now practicing is Riyadh. He is married to Hanadi and met her in Amman; she went to states with him for his training. This is Mohammed’s 4th trip with our mission and he is invaluable to helping assist with all our operations.

❤️❤️Meet Rob Raylman

He is the chief executive officer of Gift of Life International. Rob has held this position for the past 10 years. He lives in upstate New York and travels around the world establishing , funding and supporting GOL charity missions. El Salvador is near and dear to Rob’s heart. Rob has been with us several times in the last few years for the mission and GALA fundraising events in Indy, London and Amman. You will never meet a more dynamic, charismatic and big-hearted man with the sole purpose to ease suffering throughout the world for children with heart disease. He indeed is one very special man.

Written by drannefarrell

March 5, 2018 at 8:12 pm

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Amman Rotary/Riley VTT with GOLA and Chain of Hope Day 3

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The GOL mission this week is named after a very special person to our team. Moustafa Nasereddin was a member of GOL, district governor of Rotary from Jordan, and an active member of our team for many years from the conception of these mission trips. He passed away last year but will never be forgotten for all the groundwork he did for this mission and his vision for the future

This morning started with our ICU rounds and both of our patients yesterday did well overnight.

Maher has a good night but his rhythm is still being paced. We will have to see if his rhythm returns to normal -he is receiving steroids to help with any swelling or inflammation around the conduction system. He is so sweet and keeps reaching up to us and just wants to be held😢

below: Maher and his father ❤️

Ammar also had a great night. He was even able to smile a little at us this morning, which tells you what a great kid he is…even when he’s hurting. We will get his central line out, get him up walking and then transfer him down to the regular floor later this afternoon. He was so happy when he got his Riley tatoo😄

Our first case for today is Khadejeh (named for the first wife of the prophet Mohammad) Ramadan Mah’d Hassan , a sweet 13 month old girl from Azaz, Syria, a city outside of Aleppo. She has a large amount of extended family with her during this trip. Both her parents, both grandmothers and her auntie. She has a transitional AVC defect, large ASD primum, small VSD component, mitral regurgitation. She has been having issues with weight gain, and sweating while feeding. She only weighs 16 lbs at over a year of age. Usually feeding and weight issues improve dramatically after corrective heart surgery for these children, so that’s our hope, but it also may be due to limited resources for the family.

Above: Dr Mohammed from Saudi Arabia is back to assist with the surgeries this week.

Her case went well …back in the ICU by lunchtime. The ICU team was given a donation from Masimo to use an End tidal CO2 monitor (called Emma😄) to help them monitor the patient’s respiratory status. This helps to determine extubation without having to keep drawing blood to monitor levels!

Below: (Monitor is yellow device)

The 2nd patient for today is Adam Hani Bani Mansour. He is a 1 year old with a VSD and aortic regurgitation (leakage from the aortic valve). He is from Kout, Iraq -160 kms. south of Baghdad and he is with his parents and grandmother. He was having some trouble breathing before surgery and then was sent over to be evaluated by Dr. Kal and found to have his defect.

Adam did well–his VSD is closed and the leakage from the aortic valve is already improved!

We finished both cases today by mid-afternoon, so most of the rest of the day was spent discussing cases for the rest of the week, particularly Rua’a Muhammad Al Abdullah…a 6 week old baby with D-TGV, VSD who is very cyanotic-saturation’s 75%, from Syria. This beautiful baby was born in a Irbid, Jordan-near the Syrian border..and after her heart disease was diagnosed..her parents were told not to bond with her because she would likely die within a few weeks😢 how can you look at the beautiful baby and not want to do something for her …(I am literally mesmerized by how beautiful she is)

We had a suspicion from her echo that her coronary artery anatomy would be difficult to do the planned surgery-an arterial switch operation; so we sent her for a CT with angiography today ( it’s a really nice non-invasive study they do here very well in Jordan).

The pictures below show her study and that it could make the operation not doable, or possibly not at this time due to her small size.

So after a long discussion, we decided to take her tomorrow morning first case, and see if there is a possibility of doing an arterial switch. If not, we will likely do a palliative procedure to get her more blood flow so her saturation’s will improve- a PA band to keep her ventricle thickened for possible future surgery, and a shunt. If you think you are confused, imagine how her poor parents felt when we had the discussion with them. Her father told us he didn’t understand anything, but trusted us to do the right thing and make the right decision and it was in our hands. Asking for prayers for our team and this beautiful baby tomorrow that all goes well.🙏🏻 in’shallah

Evening ended with more food….with all our wonderful GOLA board friends/hosts, Rob Raylman, from GOLI who flew into town today for the mission and the GALA event this week, and Milli and Oroyo from COH. We went to Villa Clara, an international restaurant and the food was fantastic! We had fun with the chef–helping him prepare the food for dinner 🤣

❤️❤️I’m trying a new twist to my blogs this year…want to introduce you to key people and organizations that make these mission trips possible. I want everyone to not only learn and meet the children we operate on and their families, but the people behind the scenes that make all of this possible.

Yesterday, you met Oroyo Eubanks -who is the Chain of Hope London communications director for the past 2 years. He has been on mission trips both here in Amman and Jamaica. He posts all the social media updates on Facebook and Instagram. You can follow their organization and our mission at, Facebook (Chain of Hope) and on Instagram @chain_of_hope

Today, Meet Melissa “Milli” Cortizo …She is a videographer and does documentaries for Chain of Hope. She was part of our mission trip last September, 2017 filming a documentary on Nourelein (it can be seen on YouTube channel Treating Refugee Children-Chain of Hope Mission in Jordan 12/2017)…and she is back for this mission to continue telling her story and journey through her next stage of surgery. Milli hales from Nottingham, outside London and owns her own company … Media Spaces. Most of her work is through charity cases…heart disease, cancer, stroke !! She’s awesome to donate her time and talent to this mission !!!!

Written by drannefarrell

March 4, 2018 at 9:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized