Aya Almasal – a 12-year-old Gazan girl – has been given new life thanks to Israeli pediatricians at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.

Almasal, who suffered sudden bouts of unconsciousness since birth, arrived at Rambam one month ago in critical condition. Israeli doctors diagnosed her as suffering from Long QT Syndrome, a disorder of the heart’s electrical system that causes irregular and rapid heart rate and had prevented blood from reaching her brain.

“Every year we treat a number of children with these types of problems,” says Prof. Avraham Lorber, who is head of Rambam’s Department of Pediatric Cardiology and Adult Congenital Heart Defects. “Some patients are diagnosed when they seek treatment for their irregular heart rates, and others in regular check-ups. This early detection of life-threatening problems illustrates the far-ranging implications of preventive medicine.”

Almasal is one of some 650 children and youth who arrive from the Palestinian Authority area and neighboring countries and are treated on a humanitarian basis.

Dr. Munder Bolus, director of the Unit of Electrophysiology implanted Almasal with a defibrillator pacemaker. Accompanying drug treatment, the pacemaker supplies an electrical shock which ‘jump starts’ the heart during irregularities.

“Other Palestinian patients are now receiving treatment here or will soon be transferred to Rambam,” says Prof. Lorber. “Our experience in general medicine, and in cardiology, specifically, allows us to help most of these patients.”