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Six-year-old trauma victim walks again

Sharjah doctors conduct spinal surgery on Nigerian child who was run over by a vehicle in 2014

Dubai: A six-year-old boy from Nigeria is able to walk again after three years following spinal surgery at a hospital in Sharjah.

The boy Ali (full name withheld for security reasons) was confined to a wheelchair at the age of two after he was run over by a vehicle during an attack by extremists in 2014. He was brought to the UAE by the Sanomi Dickens Foundation in collaboration with the Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care (GIPLC).

Doctors from Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, conducted the spinal surgery, said neurosurgeon Dr Nishith Bhargava.

Describing Ali as a strong-willed boy who was determined to live, Dr Bhargava said: “Ali had some of his vertebrae crushed when a vehicle ran him over. He had developed severe pain in the past three months and was walking with a spasm in the left side of his abdomen. He was unable to walk more than 10 metres when he came to us. An examination revealed a kyphotic swelling in his lumbar area. His L1, L2 and L3 and L4 vertebrae had fused. We conducted a spinal surgery called Xeta Fixation of the spine using pedicle screws and rods. A titanium rod was placed between the L1 and L5 vertebrae and his fused vertebrae opened up and were held together with an external application which can be taken out after two years once healing is complete.”

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Dr Bhargava added : “The complications with respect to this surgery were related to the accuracy required while operating on the small size of the child’s nerves and skeletal system. We had to take extensive care not to damage adjacent nerves to ensure healthy healing post-surgery. We are happy we managed it well and successfully completed the procedure.”

Ali was admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for 48 hours where his progress was closely monitored.

After just seven days, the boy was able to walk unassisted. He is continuing to make a speedy recovery.

Usually patients undergoing such a surgery need intensive physiotherapy and at least three weeks to be able to walk again. Ali’s rapid recovery has led to him being dubbed ‘miracle boy’, Dr Bhargava said.

Taher Shams, Managing Director of Zulekha Healthcare Group, said: “We would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone involved in rescuing Ali and helping him regain his health. We are thrilled to have been able to be a part of Ali’s successful journey of recovery and wish him a long and happy life.”