Building Bridges, One Foot Surgery at a Time

Hana Zeitoun, with his father (left) and doctor after successful foot surgeryThese days, there aren’t that many heart-warming stories coming out of the Middle East, so when I came across this inspirational tale—with a foot surgery at its center, no less—I simply had to share it with all of you.

It starts with an 8-year-old Palestinian boy named Hana Zeitun who suffered from an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), an abnormal connection between his arteries, manifested in his foot. The condition is painful and debilitating, and had left the boy homebound for several years.

While many experts gave the opinion that the child’s leg would have to be amputated just below the knee in order to stop his constant pain, Israeli doctors at Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem decided to take a different approach. Dr. Adam Farkash, head of the vascular defects unit, decided to perform a surgery that would close up the bad connections between veins.

Thankfully for little Hana, the surgery was a success—he lost just a little bit of the skin from the front of his leg, and he’s expected to walk, run and play like any other child once his recovery is complete.

I love this story not just for the human connections made between two people supposedly at war, but also for these two lessons: you should never sit on foot pain when your child is experiencing discomfort of any kind and you should ALWAYS seek a second opinion before undergoing foot surgery. That’s why, in my office, I am happy to provide a second pre-surgical consultation to incoming patients, particularly the youngest visitors to my office.