"He may only have days to live, but I think we can save him"— A Life Saved At The Last Minute

A photo of Dr. Kirk Milhoan smiling at the horizon.

One of my favorite things about Dr. Kirk and his team is how big-hearted they are. Local families can sense the sincerity of their compassion, and it makes a big difference in the ‘feel’ of the mission.

It’s that same compassion, though, that had us crammed into an echo lab/storage closet at midnight last night, looking at children’s hearts, and it’s that compassion that kept admitting one more family for screening.

“Please, just help one more,” is a hard request to ignore when it’s shouted from a waiting room packed and pleading. In this case, the request came for a little boy named Abraham.

A photo of the echo lab team awaiting the next child in Tikrit, Iraq.

Scratching his chin, Abe’s uncle tried to remember when it started: “For about two months we were basically living in the hospital.”

The entire family rallied around this little boy as he spent nearly two months in the hospital, struggling to breathe. The doctor in Abe’s hometown told the family he had a lung problem, and that Abe might need ‘new lungs’—something the family didn’t really understand and something they certainly couldn’t afford.

When a friend told them about our Remedy Mission in Tikrit, Abe’s family decided to get a second opinion. Unfortunately, Abe missed the cut and was scheduled for a check-up on the next mission. It was nearly 1am last night when both the list and the doctors were exhausted, and they decided to pack up for the night.

But the local doctors pleaded, “There’s just one more little boy. Will you please see him?” Dr. Kirk relented.

Abe’s family carried him in, and Dr. Kirk was shocked by what he found.

A photo of Dr. Kim cradling Abe's head before his procedure in Tikrit, Iraq.

Abe had huge amounts of fluid in his chest that was pressing on his lungs and making his heart work too hard.

Dr. Mary, the interventional cardiologist on the team, worked with local doctors to successfully drain the fluid around Abe’s heart. “I don’t think he had more than two or three days to live—I think he’s the reason God has us here this week,” she said after.

On behalf of Abe and his elated parents: thank you. You’re saving lives. 

A photo of Dr. Kirk and Dr. Kim lifting Abe off of the operating table.

A photo of a little Iraqi girl in need of surgery, holding her daddy's hand. Give now to bring hope to more children like Abe!


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About Matthew Willingham

Matt Willingham is Preemptive Love's Senior Field Editor and writes primarily on politics, history, general updates and visual peacemaking through photography and film.


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"He may only have days to live, but I think we can save him"— A Life Saved At The Last Minute
"He may only have days to live, but I think we can save him"— A Life Saved At The Last Minute
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