Iraqi man walks again after seven yearsJuly 16th, 2010 - 7:59 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, July 16 (IANS) Seven years after he was hit by splinters from an American missile, a former Iraqi soldier is free of constant pain and again able to walk without any support.
In what could be the first case of its kind, 28-year-old Falah Mohammad was operated upon successfully to remove a nearly three cm long and one cm wide missile splinter from his spine at the Metro Hospital in Faridabad earlier this week.
“It is rare that a splinter is removed after seven years and the patient recovers completely,” said the hospital’s managing director S.S. Bansal.
“The young man had been living with a splinter in his spine since the last seven years, an injury which made him live with constant pain and pus oozing out of the wound,” Bansal said. “With this surgery, he will be leading a normal life again”.
Falah was 21 when he was hit by a splinter April 6, 2003.
“An American missile hit the area and the first explosion was followed by explosions from many daughter shells. One of those hit me,” he says.
He was taken to a local hospital, where basic surgery were conducted, and then moved to a hospital in Baghdad. X-ray reports in the Baghdad hospital showed the splinter in the spine but the doctors could not remove it as they feared he could be paralysed.
Falah was paraplegic for one year, depending on a wheelchair for his movement. Ever since, he lived with perpetual pain.
“We again approached a hospital in Baghdad in 2008, but the doctors could not remove the splinter saying it was surrounded by nerves,” he said, adding it was “after another year of suffering, we came to know that surgery is possible in India”.
Falah came to India earlier this month and was admitted in Faridabad’s Metro Hospital July 6.
“We could not do an MRI as the splinter was metal and did a 3D CT scan to locate it,” said Alok Gupta who headed the operation.
The surgery was complicated as the splinter was entangled between the nerves.
“The splinter was inside the spinal cord but all the nerves were densely adherent to each other and going through the spinal cord could lead to neurological damage,” Gupta said.
The doctors then decided to remove the splinter sideway, removing a part of the vertebra to displace the splinter vertically.
“In simple language, we basically drilled the bone next to the vertebral column and pushed the splinter towards that cavity so that it could be removed,” Gupta said, adding the spinal cord was later repaired with tissues from thigh area.
The nine-hour-long surgery July 12 resulted in Falah coming back on his feet.
“We had no hopes left after going to doctors continuously for last seven years,” said Falah’s father Abu Falah, who accompanied him for the treatment.
Falah is now looking forward to return to Iraq and joining his father’s business.
“He got married eight months back. I am really happy that he will have a normal life again,” Abu Falah said.
According to Bansal, the Metro hospital alone has so far done more than 500 surgeries on patients from abroad, including many from the Middle East.
For Falah, however, the choice was because of economical treatment in India as well as confidence of being cured.
“Many of my friends and people we know have come to India for treatment. It is cheaper and better than many other countries,” he said.
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Tags: 3d ct, alok gupta, basic surgery, ct scan, explosions, falah, faridabad, first explosion, iraqi man, iraqi soldier, local hospital, managing director, missile, mohammad, nerves, New Delhi, seven years, spine, splinters, x ray