Caritas Baby Hospital Remains for the Palestinian Children in the Difficult Times

The four beds room in Pediatric ward B looks empty until you look to the right corner under the big corridor window. The twelve years old Rimas lays there in her bed and next to her sits an old lady. When approaching, we see the girl upset and her grandmother is trying to comfort her. “Her mother cannot come to see her today as well” the grandmother says.

Rimas was complaining from high fever, and head, neck and back pain. The doctor in Al Arboub refugee camp clinic, where the girl lives, recommended for the child to be hospitalized as her blood test result was not satisfying. “I insisted to send her to Caritas Baby Hospital although Hebron hospitals are closer and more convenient in the current circumstances. I wanted her to receive a specialized Pediatric care” Rimas’ mother, Laila said.

In normal times, it takes around twenty minutes from Al Aroub to Bethlehem. However, currently, all the Palestinian refugee camps, villages and cities in the West Bank are besieged by the Israeli army. These movement restrictions forced Rimas’ father and uncle to use pass by roads to bring the tired teenager to CBH in the uncle’s car. The mother could not join in fear of not being able to return home to her younger children if the way on their return is locked. Therefore, only the grandmother who lives in the city of Bethlehem could accompany the child.

In CBH, Rimas was diagnosed with Meningitis and isolated immediately. Meningitis is a bacterial or viral infection that results in an inflammation (swelling) of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Our team performed a lumbar puncture – where a sample of fluid was taken from the spine of Rimas to check if her disease is caused by a bacteria or viruses and decide on the suitable treatment plan.

Until the lumbar puncture result in out, the medical team gave Rimas an empiric antimicrobial therapy which is directed against an anticipated and likely cause of infectious disease.

“Viral meningitis is the most common and least serious type. Bacterial meningitis is rare, but can be very serious if not treated” Dr. Ra’fat Allawi commented on Rimas’ condition and importance of the timely intervention through the empiric medicine.

From her second day in CBH, Rimas’ health was improving and she felt better.  Luckily, the lumbar puncture result supported the viral infection and the girl was ready to be discharged on the fourth day of treatment.

On her discharge day, we could see Rimas’ smile back to her face. It’s not only that she is leaving the hospital but also her mother “Laila” was able to come to take her back home.