By Melissa Wuske
3-D Printers Help Surgeons
Mia Gonzalez, age 4, spent years of her life sick and out of breath before doctors found she had a malformed aorta. The condition required a tricky surgery in order to give her a fully functioning heart.
To tackle the challenge, Dr. Redmond Burke, Mia’s surgeon and director of pediatric cardiovascular surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, used the hospital’s new 3-D printer to create a replica of Mia’s heart. Burke used the model to consider, plan, and practice the surgery. “Without the model, I would have been less certain about (operating on Mia) and that would have led me naturally to make a larger incision that could possibly cause more pain and a longer recovery time,” Burke said.
In some uncertain past cases, doctors may not have attempted a surgery because the risk was too high. Now “it’s very unlikely I will ever call someone inoperable without holding a model in my hand,” Burke said.
Israeli & Palestinian Parents Working Together
In the wake of continued violence in Israel, an unlikely group is speaking out. The Parents Circle is a mixed group of Palestinians and Israelis who have lost children in violent conflict and who come together to talk, grieve, and work for peace.
The group welcomes anyone who wants to share. “It doesn’t matter if they don’t agree with us . . . we include everybody in the conversation. Because when you exclude, you make a radical,” said Robi Damelin, an Israeli who lost her son to a sniper.
Along the way they develop a bond. Fellow group member Bassam Aramin, a Palestinian whose daughter was killed by Israeli border police, explained: “It’s not friendship—please! We are not friends, we are not brothers, we are not relatives. We are partners! And it’s for our life. . . . I care about Robi’s life, she cares about my life. Because she wants to live in a normal place, and I want to live in peace and freedom and dignity in a normal place.”
Christian Witness Changes ISIS Fighter
At a refugee camp in Jordan run by Christian Aid Mission, militants with the Islamic State infiltrated the camp with a mission of violence. But one particular fighter didn’t complete his task; once he saw the love of the Christians in the camp, he changed his mind. “He first saw how Islam brainwashed him about Christianity, and how that contrasted with the reality of what he saw in the Christians,” said the director of the camp. Instead of carrying out his mission, he turned to Christ.
Seeing Christ in the camps is not an uncommon phenomenon. “I think that a lot of refugees see that there is something different there; they see the Muslim on Muslim fighting and then they see how the Christians are reaching out with love and caring,” said Steve Van Valkenburg, Christian Aid Mission’s area director for the Middle East.
Kindness on the Bus
Godfrey Cuotto was getting on the bus when a man reached out to shake his hand. “He kept holding my hand,” Cuotto said. “I thought I was getting pranked at first, but he just needed comfort.” During the rest of the ride, the man, Robert, who is deaf and has cerebral palsy, held Cuotto’s hand, hugged him, and leaned on him. “I just allowed it. Sometimes you just have to be selfless and put someone else’s needs above yours.”
Melissa Wuske is a freelance editor and writer. She and her husband, Shawn, live and minister in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Find her work online (melissaannewuske.com).