Unheard of CT Scan

Dear Friends,

Thank you all for your calls and enquiries and offers of help. Words cannot express our gratitude to you all – the moral support definitely helps us feel stronger during this difficult time.

How we wish we could respond in turn with good news about our son! Unfortunately we have no good news (although on some level we know that everything is for the good). Yitzchak Meir is currently in Shaarei Tzedek recovering from pneumonia (a common ailment resulting from his neurological condition). During his first few days in the intensive care unit a CT scan was taken of his brain. It showed overwhelming damage, and was far, far worse than the first scan which was taken six weeks ago. Professor Steinberg, who is a top pediatric neurogist had himself never seen anything like it. It was not a result of the birth trauma, but of some preexisting condition either from before, during or after the birth. Whatever it is, whether it has a name or not, is now irrelevant. Professor Steinberg has said that our little boy does not have a long time to live – he can’t give us specifics as no doctor is a navi (prophet). We are doing our best to accept this gezera min hashamayim (decree from Heaven). For Ella it was far worse not to know what would be than having something definitive, albeit tragic. We regard it as a zchus (honour) to have brought down this most precious neshama into the world to do its tikkun. It is unlikely that our baby will come home again. We have no regrets about the short time he was home, however; that our family and friends got to see and hold our beautiful Yitchak Meir. People often ask us if we wish for them to daven for our son. In response, we ask that you should daven that our little son shouldn’t suffer, that we should have strength and fortitude and that Hashem should do what is for the best for all of us. In our pain we see our brochos; our little baby seems not to be suffering and we have wonderful volunteers who can be with him when we are not. In addition, we have the wholehearted support and concern of our family, friends and community. So many people have called us with unbelievable contacts and connections which have enabled us to get through this time with information and support. If not for Yitzchak Meir, there are some incredible people who I wouldn’t have got to know. We are sorry our story doesn’t have a ‘happy ending’. Or then again, maybe it does. We haven’t let this destroy us – we have grown a lot from our trial and we hope that it has changed us for the better. We have also learned how amazing people can be; those countless friends and friends of friends and even strangers who became friends, who have rooted for us when the chips were down. May we all merit to share only simchas and to see the geula shleima (redemption) speedily in our days.

Lev and Ella

Slight Improvement

Yitzchak Meir’s continue continues to improve. He is in the pediatric ward of Shaare Tzedek Hospital, and girls from Darchei Bina and Michlala have been coming during the past week to watch him. I saw him yesterday, and he was looking quite good. He is getting a little extra oxygen, and food through a tube, but otherwise he is on his own. The nurses experimented with turning the heat lamp off yesterday, hoping that he would be able to maintain his temperature properly. There is now talk about his release from the hospital. it won’t happen today, but the nurses can see it coming soon. But we’ll take it one step at a time.

He’s in G-d’s Hands For Sure

Yitchak Meir’s condition continues to improve. He is now in the Children’s room, and not in the Intensive Care. Unfortunately, Shaare Tzedek Hospital does not provide supervision for him, so we have been scrambling around to find volunteers to watch him 24 hours/day.

We hope that his condition will continue to improve, as he is now classified as “DNR” which means “Do Not Resuscitate”. This designation was made after consulting with Rabbis and Doctors. It means that if his breathing deteriorates so much that he requires a respirator (again), he will not be given it.

So if there was ever a doubt before of whether his condition was completely in God’s or not, there should be no doubt now.

From One Extreme To Another

Yitzchak Meir’s condition has improved over the past few days. The doctors have managed to take him off the respirator, and he is breathing again on his own. I am not sure if he is still considered to be in a coma or not, but I would assume so.

So after spending the past few days realizing the possibility that I might have a funeral to attend, we are now faced with the possibility (once again) of Yitzchak Meir getting better and coming home. This possibility is actually quite frightening, because the last time he was here he apparently aspirated his food (something that neurologically damaged children can easily do) and contracted a pneumonia. If he comes home again, we fear that something will again go wrong and we’ll have to rush him to the hospital.

We would be thrilled if God would give our child a complete recovery so that we could take him home. As long as he is alive, it is still possible. But I don’t wish this “not knowing” and “going from one extreme to another” on anyone!

Questions About The Future

We saw Yitzchak Meir at Shaare Tzedek Hospital today. It was very sad to see such a little baby hooked up to all these wires. His breathing was erratic, and his colour was very pale. I was reminded of the time I went with my father to see his mother in the Intensive Care of Brooklyn’s Downstate Medical Center. It was two days after my other grandmother had died, and now my father’s mother had had a stroke and was hooked up to slightly more machines and wires than my Yitzchak Meir. It was the only time in my life I have seen my father cry. And today, seeing my son in almost the same condition, was the first time that I cried, too. I tried to sing to him HaMalach HaGo-al, but the words just wouldn’t come out.

We met with Dr. Kline, who explained the situation to us. The latest CT scan was very ominous, showing little to no differentiation between the various components of the brain. We were told to prepare ourselves for questions regarding Yitzchak Meir’s care in his final days in this world. The Gemora in Brachos says that one must continue to have hope for a salvation from Hashem, even if there is a sword at one’s throat. We continue to have hope of a salvation. Certainly God can save our child if that is what He wants. But even with perfect hope, we realize that God might have other plans for our Yitzchak Meir. So we are turning to our Rabbis for their guidance in this matter. For example, the doctors hope to get him off the respirator soon, and back to breathing on his own. But what if after a week he needs to go back on a respirator. Medically, this would indicate that his body is just not capable of breathing on its own anymore, which in normal circumstances would result in death. Do we instruct the doctors to put Yitzchak Meir back on the respirator, or leave him off? What if he can’t feed through a tube anymore? Do the doctors open his chest and stick a feeding tube into his stomach? What if he can’t breath through his mouth/nose anymore? Do they do a tracheotomy? Apparently Shaare Tzedek Hospital has a Rabbi on the premises that is expert on these matters. We were unable to contact him today due to the late hour of our call, but we hope to be in contact tomorrow.

We thank you for all your support and prayers. At this point, though, we ask that you pray that God does what is “right and good” for the entire Seltzer family, rather than for a “complete recovery” for our son.


Yitzchak Meir’s condition has deteriorated slightly. He is now on a respirator, as he is still having difficulty breathing. What can we say? We brought him home last week thinking it would be forever (or at least a good long time).

Obviously, it isn’t.

So instead of trying to predict the future, we will simply deal with each day as it comes. We will continue davening and hope that God will have rachmanus.

Your continued prayers for Yitzchak Meir ben Ella Yapha are appreciated now, as much as ever.

Back in the Hospital

Yitzchak Meir was admitted to Shaare Tzedek Hospital on Shabbos. He has congestion in his chest which was preventing him from breathing properly. Upon admission, the doctors saw that his body temperature had dropped to 32°C/86.6°F, which is VERY cold. He is now in the intensive care unit. Your continued prayers for Yitzchak Meir ben Ella Yapha are appreciated.