Stitching Up Bellybuttons—Hatem's two very different surgeries!

A photo of Hatem smiling

Try imaging your son being taken to the emergency room with a wound to the stomach.

He is bleeding and you, of course, are extremely worried. You watch as your child is wheeled into the operating room, hoping and believing they’ll be able to fix him. Nurses reassure you he’ll be fine. “They see this kind of thing all the time,” one says.

To your relief, your son is wheeled back out to you and the doctor is smiling. You look down at his abdomen to find the stitches…across his belly button.

They closed the wrong hole, and your son has to be wheeled back in for another surgery, his condition worsening.

That may sound ridiculous, but apply this scenario to the heart instead of abdomen and you have Hatem’s story. If it weren’t so tragic, it would be comical. Even before fleeing ISIS, Hatem’s family could never afford surgery, so when a local charity in their town helped send the child to Turkey for an operation, they were thrilled.

Today, when our partner doctors opened Hatem’s chest, they found the stitches in his heart from that previous operation—the  surgeon had closed the wrong hole. The surgery was a complete and total waste, and the hospital had still taken their money!

This poor family went through a trip abroad, a frightening surgery, and the surgeon essentially stitched up Hatem’s bellybutton.

A photo of Hatem in the ICU recovering.

Thankfully, no damage was done to the Hatem’s heart, and he is now recovering in the ICU, with the correct holes closed and a very relieved mother and father!


Hatem’s family was persecuted and displaced by ISIS militants, but monthly donations from kind-hearted people like you helped save their son. Help us continue providing for displaced families by giving every month.

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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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Stitching Up Bellybuttons—Hatem's two very different surgeries!
Stitching Up Bellybuttons—Hatem's two very different surgeries!
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