Baby Filip – The Heartwarming Story of His Cardiac Surgeries at Sheba
Filip and his twin sister were born on June 12, 2019, in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The babies were premature, delivered at 34 weeks of pregnancy and weighed less than 4.4 lb. (2 kilo) each. While his sister was born perfectly healthy, Filip was diagnosed at two days old with a number of serious heart defects. The doctors in Ljubljana determined that Filip needed immediate surgery to survive. However, their hospital was small and didn’t have a pediatric surgery department, so Filip had to be transported elsewhere for the complex, lifesaving cardiac operations that he required.
At first, they decided to travel to Prague, Czech Republic, for the surgery. But due to Filip’s tiny size, they were unable to find a doctor in Europe who would agree to perform the operation. So they looked elsewhere, and their research led them to Dr. David Mishaly, Director of the Department of Pediatric & Congenital Cardiothoracic Surgery at Sheba Medical Center. To their great relief, Dr. Mishaly said yes.
On July 12, Filip and his parents travelled to Israel. Filled with tremendous hope for Filip’s future, they flew via medical transport plane. Upon landing in Tel Aviv, an ambulance met them and brought them directly to Sheba. Filip was transferred immediately to a room in the Intensive Care Unit, and his parents went to the Sheba hotel to check-in before meeting with the Sheba medical team.
“The nurses, doctors, and other medical staff were very kind to me. They answered our questions patiently and explained everything we needed to know,” said Filip’s father.
Dr. Mishaly conducted several examinations over the next few days before deciding to separate the surgery into two shorter procedures, instead of one large operation. On July 15, he performed the first surgery to treat coarctation of the aorta, a narrowing of the aorta that forces the heart to pump harder to push blood through the cardiac vessels. After two days of recovery, Dr. Mishaly performed the second and more complex surgery on July 18, which took about six hours to complete. This procedure was done to correct transposition of the great arteries (TGA) and a ventricular septal defect (VSD).
Filip’s surgeries were successful, and he was moved to the recovery room – where he showed daily improvement. Dr. Mishaly determined that his recuperation was progressing so well he could return to Slovenia for further recovery. On July 25, the family left Sheba to go home.
“All of the personnel at Sheba were professional and compassionate, and Dr. Mishaly … well, he is an absolute master at his job. Our personal medical coordinator at Sheba was also very helpful, providing us with useful information about our stay in Israel,” shares Filip’s father. “My experience with Israel and the Sheba pediatric hospital was positive in all situations, and I highly recommend the hospital to all children who need heart surgeries. They really know how to do it and how to care for babies!”