My name is Shaili Perez, and I am a medical student at the University of Ottawa in Canada. This summer, I was fortunate enough to do a two-week internship at Save A Child’s Heart. I witnessed the amazing work that SACH does; the surgeries they preform for the kids they bring in from countries where such medical care is not available, the follow up they provide, and the care and attention they are given outside the hospital as well. In the hospital, I rotated between clinics, surgeries, catherization procedures, and the ICU. By staying in the SACH house I was able to see the holistic care the children are provided. There, I was able to get to know the kids on a more personal basis, and see the relationships between the kids, mothers, nurses, staff, and volunteers. It was truly outstanding to see the joy and energy the kids had, constant reminders of how changed their lives were by the everyone working at SACH.
However, I was aware of this aspect of their work before my internship. A facet that I was not aware of was the care that SACH provides to Palestinian children. During my time at SACH, I participated in two days of Palestinian clinic. In this clinic, children were brought in from Gaza and the West Bank and assessed, followed up, and retained for surgery if necessary. The doctors at SACH would then, if possible, convey instructions for follow up in their regions to continue their care. Other children who needed longer periods of attention by the cardiologists had been seen at the clinic for many years and had strong bonds with the staff at SACH. A Palestinian doctor came with the children; he constantly reiterated how much he enjoyed and respected working with the Israeli doctors. He spoke multiple times about how it never mattered where the children were from or what the political situation in Israel was at the time. The kids brought in were treated as such, merely kids who needed medical care. I spoke to the staff who told me that now, as SACH has become more widely recognized over the years, vans bringing children across the Gaza border were not given trouble even at times of political instability, and that clinic had never had to be cancelled due to issues at the border. I was proud to be a part of an organization that gives care equally to all children who need it. I hope to continue being involved with SACH in the future and further witness and participate in the incredible work they do.
For more infomation about the medical internship check out Save a Child’s Heart Website.