Hodaya just celebrated her first birthday with guests of honor being the medical staff of Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Western Galilee Hospital- Nahariya that made such an event a possibility.


Born by a difficult caesarian procedure at 33 weeks and weighing 2.2 kg., Hodaya came into the world with a number of life-threatening complications. The most urgent and distressing difficulty was that she was born with her esophagus joined to her trachea instead of to her stomach. She was completely unable to eat or swallow. The condition required immediate surgical intervention. In addition, her lungs became rapidly filled with fluid causing her to depend on a respirator.


Hodaya was operated on by a team of pediatric surgeons headed by Dr. Alon Youlovitch in a procedure that lasted 7 hours and was especially difficult due to her low weight and already critical condition. Her mother Karen recalls her despair at seeing her tiny daughter attached to so many tubes and instruments. “I could only pray she would survive.”


Hodaya spent the weeks following the surgery in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit learning to eat and swallow before being allowed to return home with her parents. But after only two weeks, Hodaya was brought back to the hospital for another series of operations. “We spent most of the year in and out of the hospital, cared for by the wonderful medical team that worked day and night to save my daughter’s life,” said Karen.


After numerous procedures, hospitalizations and rehabilitation, Hodaya is a healthy and happy 1 year old who played, ran around and laughed with the familiar medical staff. “My daughter owes her life to these doctors. Without them, we wouldn’t be celebrating here today. We just wanted to show our gratitude”