Palestinian baby dies despite heart transplant from Jewish child

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Palestinian baby dies despite heart transplant from Jewish child

Six-month-old boy Musa passes away after having bravely fought for his life, following a ground-breaking operation at the Sheba Hospital

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Musa, a Palestinian baby from the West Bank, clings to life at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv after receiving a heart donated from an Israeli child. (Courtesy of Sheba Medical Center)
Musa, a Palestinian baby from the West Bank, clings to life at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv after receiving a heart donated from an Israeli child. (Courtesy of Sheba Medical Center)

Musa, the Palestinian baby who so bravely fought for life after receiving a ground-breaking heart transplant from an Israeli Jewish child, tragically died early on Tuesday morning.

Staff at the Sheba Hospital in central Israel, where the transplant took place last week after a Jewish family took the decision to donate their child’s organs, were said to be deeply upset by the death, although Musa’s family were warned that he was very sick and might not survive.

A spokesman for the hospital said that it was a “miracle” that the baby had made it through the heart transplant operation itself, and that for a couple of days late last week Musa, aged just six months, had appeared to be recovering better than had been hoped.

But the baby was “just too sick”, the spokesman said. The operation itself was said to be a first, inasmuch as a heart transplant had never been carried out on a baby so young before — and the first time that a Palestinian baby had received a heart transplant from a Jewish child.

Last week’s Jewish News front page

Musa had been born with a variety of life-threatening conditions, chief of which were tumours surrounding his heart. Doctors in his home city of Ramallah, on the West Bank, were unable to cope with his growing medical problems and sent him across the border to Sheba’s Safra Children’s Hospital on several previous occasions, to treat and stabilise him.

But three weeks ago, Musa’s condition began to deteriorate rapidly. His heart was reaching “end stage” failure.

Sheba’s spokesman said that the surgical team, who had been hoping and praying for Musa’s survival, were “desperately sad”. But he added: “It’s very tough for the medical team because they are performing extraordinary operations like this every day”. Next week Sheba will be operating on another sick baby, a Syrian child who is being flown over from Cyprus to receive treatment at the hospital.

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