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A MIRACLE AT THE MEDICAL CENTER - AUB President's Perspective - 2017/6/30
June 14, 2017 will forever be a historic date at AUB. On that day, the Children’s Heart Center at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) joined the world’s premiere heart centers by performing the first successful heart transplant for a pediatric patient in Lebanon or the Levant region. The recipient child who was 5 years of age, came off the ventilator within a few days, smiled at his mother, held her arm, and hope was thus renewed.

Dr. Issam El Rassi, Chief of Pediatric and Congenital heart surgery, led a team of pediatric cardiologists, pediatric intensivists, cardiac anesthesiologists, nurses in this groundbreaking operation, determined that “no child should die of heart disease in Lebanon or the region.”

Dr. Fadi Bitar, the Director of the Children’s Heart Center commented: “This landmark adds to the exceptional and unparalleled services that the center provides towards the betterment of patients with congenital heart disease in Lebanon and the region.” This pervasive culture of giving is symbolized by the extraordinary generosity of the donor family, who offered the heart of their beloved dying child as a gift, so that another child could have a chance at life. Much credit also must go to the Brave Heart Fund, which has helped support the cost of life saving surgery for more than 3,300 patients.

Dr. Marianne Majdalani, the Chief Intensivist of the Pediatric and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit concludes: “We are privileged and humbled by the trust of the recipient and donor families. Our love and respect goes out to the donor’s family; and our success is a direct result of the exceptional teamwork that our physicians, nurses, and allied healthcare providers deliver.”

The operation and treatment were supported through collaborations that involve the Ministry of Public Health, Brave Heart Fund and AUBMC. Thus, even in the setting of the tragedy that befell the child whose heart saved another, a life begins anew for a child and their family.
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