(Photo: Hadassah Medical Center)

(Photo: Hadassah Medical Center)

By Abigail Klein Leichman - January 8, 2017

Originally appeared here in Israel21c

Ahmed and Tamam, a couple from the Arab village of Kfar Kassam 12 miles east of Tel Aviv, named their baby girl Ibtihaj (Joy) and it’s not hard to understand why.

Ibtihaj was born with a rare defect, omphalocele, in which the intestines and sometimes other organs develop outside the abdomen in a sac. The condition was noticed on a prenatal ultrasound and their local doctor advised them to have an abortion.

“We were devastated,” said Ahmed. “The doctors we saw in other big centers also recommended an abortion. While we were absorbing this news, we happened to see a TV program about a baby with a similar problem who had been saved at Hadassah Hospital. We drove to Jerusalem. Dr. Dan Arbell, a pediatric surgeon, showed us photos of children with worse conditions who were now preteens and doing fine. It turns out that our baby was not in such desperate straits as the doctors had said. He gave us hope.” Read More