JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israeli pediatric surgeons corrected congenital heart defects on a four-year-old Syrian girl at Wolfson Medical Center in Holon on Monday.
Save a Child's Heart made arrangements for the toddler and her mother to be brought to Israel from Jordan, where her mother fled from the violence in her own country to try to find the help her daughter needed.
Syrian doctors recognized the congenital defect -- one ventricle instead of two -- when her daughter was an infant, but they weren't able to provide the complicated surgery needed to reconfigure her heart.
"We kept taking her to doctors, but nothing could be done for her," her mother said. "She couldn't run and play as other children, and she was very sick most of the time."
Dr. Lior Sasson believes the child would not have survived much longer. "Without the surgery, she could have died within a few months, maybe even weeks," he said.
The mother met many other Arabic-speaking recipients of life-saving open-heart surgery and their families at the hospital, brought to Israel through the SACH program.
Save a Child's Heart has brought more than 3,200 children from dozens of countries for life-saving open-heart surgery.