Iraqi Baby Dies After Heart Surgery in Israel

A month-old Iraqi baby brought to Israel with a serious heart defect died Wednesday, just over three weeks after undergoing emergency surgery here in a desperate effort to save her life.

The Israeli medical charity that arranged the flight for Bayan Jassem (search) and her parents said that after the 10-hour operation on Nov. 26, Bayan developed bleeding in her lungs and other complications that led to a multiple failure of vital functions.

"All the medical team's efforts to overcome these problems failed," the Save a Child's Heart (search) foundation said.

Bayan was born in mid-November near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk with the arteries to her heart reversed. An American military doctor with the occupation forces discovered the life-threatening condition and matched her parents with Save a Child's Heart.

Jassem and her parents flew from Baghdad to Amman, Jordan, and then completed the trip to Israel by land. Israeli doctors operated on her at the Wolfson Medical Center (search) in Holon, south of Tel Aviv.

Such open heart surgery to correct arterial flow around the heart has never been performed in Iraq, according to Jonathan Miles, an American doctor who works with Save a Child's Heart and traveled with the Jassem family from Iraq.

The organization treats children from poor families who do not have the means for medical treatment to correct their heart defects.

It has paid for operations for more than 300 Palestinian and several Jordanian children during the past three years and has flown surgeons to Africa and Asia to treat children.

The statement said that the foundation is now organizing the bereaved parents' return to Iraq.

"The baby's parents thanked the medical team for all its efforts and said what happened to their daughter was the will of God," it added.