Anas has his father’s nose. Tucked into bed with a forest green cap keeping his head warm, and a bright yellow blanket, he looked like a tiny elf. Unfortunately, Anas wasn’t doing well, and his father wanted to see his little one.
When he walked into the ICU, Anas’ father could barely see his son behind a wall of care. The heart-lung machine had been wheeled in from the operating room and was pumping oxygenated blood into his little body. Stands full of medication pumps and IV drips flanked the bed. Gowned, masked doctors and nurses worked hard to keep Anas alive.
His father didn’t want to get any closer than just inside the ICU door. With the first glimpse of his son’s bed, he understood that his boy was very sick.
He understood something else though—the medical team that flew here to provide heart surgery for his son were doing everything in their means to save his life.
“It’s annoying when people say our patients could grow up to be president someday.” Stacey, one of the members of our medical team, tidied Anas’ bed, straightening lines and checking levels. “He could grow up to be a garbage man. It’s all the same to me.”
Anas didn’t come from a rich family. He wasn’t famous. He was just 31 days old when he received his heart surgery. In the eyes of the world, he hadn’t even earned his keep yet.
But in the eyes of our medical team, Anas was as worthy as any Middle Eastern oil magnate. And they threw all of their skills and experience into their efforts.
Anas’ father saw that. “He’s so grateful,” a Libyan nurse whispered as she stood near the boy’s bed.
Anas passed away the next morning. His body was washed for his family and wrapped in a beautiful, clean blanket. A little doll was tucked into his side.
Anas’ father left the hospital, not with his son in his arms as we had hoped, but knowing that everything possible had been done for him. It is a gift he will never forget.