World Prematurity Day was celebrated last week, including at Rambam Health Care Campus. Toddlers – past patients of the Department of Neonatology & Neonatal Intensive Care at the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital at Rambam HCC, and their parents were invited to join the celebrations.
A preterm birth often requires a lengthy hospitalization for a newborn baby. Premature births impact, and also unite families from all socio-economic backgrounds; for the Majeli family, it was a challenging time.
Thirty-one-year-old Marwa Majeli, from the town of Umm el-Fahm in Northern Israel, gave birth to her preterm son at Rambam HCC, a few months ago. Thereafter, he was transferred to the Department of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care for further care.
Circumcision is the word of religious law for both Muslim and Jewish boys. But baby-Majeli, like most other preterm baby boys, was too small to undergo the ritual as commanded by his Islamic faith. But, as he gained strength, his mother, Marwa, began thinking about the circumcision ceremony.
The department’s staff had, in the meantime, become a part of Marwa's 'family'. The staff rallied to help her arrange a circumcision and celebration. They appealed to Yosef Ayash, a nurse from the Department of Internal Medicine-H, at Rambam, to perform the circumcision. Ayash, who is officially recognized to perform Islamic circumcision, said, "I was immediately captivated by the story, and I could not wait to help." On the day of the circumcision, the staff decorated Marwa’s bed with balloons and prepared refreshments.
Marwa said that the Department of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care was a second home to her, and she felt safe and surrounded by love. It was the only place she wanted the circumcision to take place and she would have the best medical staff at her side.
Iris Stein, Director of Nursing in the Department of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care, commented on the warm relationship that the Department’s staff formed with Marwa, "We are not unfamiliar with long hospital stays, and all the new mothers become our 'family.' When they go home with their healthy babies, their joy is ours. We were not surprised that Marwa wanted the circumcision done here at Rambam."
The global estimation is that 15 million preterm babies are born annually and they require specialized care to ensure their survival. Approximately 7.5 percent of babies born in Israel are premature. The Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital at Rambam HCC is the only children's hospital dedicated exclusively to pediatric medicine in Northern Israel. Rambam's Department of Neonatology and Neonatal Intensive Care cares for some 5,200 newborn infants annually.