The miraculous recovery of Shimon Ohana

The Border Policeman whose heart was pierced by an Arab gunman in Gilo three weeks ago is making what doctors are calling a miraculous recovery. Nineteen year-old Shimon Ohana was rushed to hospital on October 17 unconscious and without a pulse or blood pressure, but is now breathing on his own and is out of danger.

Medics found the massively bleeding Ohana: "We can't resuscitate him! Should we bring him in?" they radioed. "Bring him," replied Prof. Avi Rivkind, the Trauma Unit head. According to Rivkind, Israel's first trained traumatologist, "his heart lacerated, Ohana was fighting the first of three peaks of death among trauma victims." In the ambulance, thirty units of blood including unmatched type O, to save time were pumped into him, reported THE JERUSALEM POST. Surgeons were able to operate once a pulse was finally detected. The two holes cut through the left ventricle of his heart by the bullet were closed. Two more operations in that first 24 hours repaired damage to his lung and diaphragm. The doctors- knowing that only 0.7 percent of victims with such wounds survive- told Ohana's parents that his chance of survival was slim.

Every day that passed, as Shimon lay in a coma, Dr. Rivkind told the family faithfully waiting at his side that if their son did not deteriorate, it was a good sign, because it meant that Ohana was fighting for his life. "Have patience," he would tell them.

Then earlier this week, his family and doctors began to notice initial signs of improvement: there was some movement in his legs, and despite damage to his brain, Shimon recognized his mother Rachel and his father Meir. Then on Tuesday, he regained consciousness, opened his eyes, and smiled at his mother. "I was crying so much and then tears started to flow down his face. I asked him not to cry so he bit his lip," she said.

Ohana had only been in the Border Police for two and a half months, when ironically, he was sent on the Gilo routine patrol- after the neighbourhood came under fire- as a reward for his diligence and high motivation. His commanders even planned to send him to officer's training.

Well-wishers from all over the country came to visit the family at the hospital, including this week the IDF Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz. Letters of support were even received from people abroad, including one from a Christian woman in Texas who had watched the shooting attack live on the television, and had read about Ohana's struggle. When she heard Ohana's parents telling reporters they needed a miracle, she decided to gather together a group of Believers to pray for the soldier. "The love and encouragement we get from these people is what gives us the strength to continue," Meir Ohana said. Local Believers in Jerusalem also committed to praying for Shimon. One of them was told by a nurse at the hospital, that it was as though the young man was admitted dead, and had now come alive.

Despite his initial improvement, much prayer is still needed for Cpl. Shimon Ohana, as his condition is still very serious, and a hospital spokeswoman has said that his responses so far have been involuntary. However his doctor remains optimistic. "After all this ends, I want to see him running down the streets of Beersheba again," Dr. Rivkind said.

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Shimon Ochana, was released from the hospital November 23, 2000. His recovery thus far is considered a "medical miracle." He will undergo a long rehabilitation treatment period.

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