An eight-year-old Syrian girl whose right leg was shattered in the fighting
there is the youngest patient ever to undergo the Ilizarov technique
her to walk.
The girl is one of 103 wounded Syrian citizens who have been
treated free of charge in Israeli hospitals in the last seven months. On Monday,
after two months of treatment at Safed’s Ziv Medical Center, she took her first
Dr. Alexander Lerner, head of the pediatrics department, said the
courageous child had undergone a series of operations since her arrival,
including one to place screws attached to an external brace in her leg bones to
lengthen them. Initially, when she was in critical condition, Ziv orthopedists
had thought her leg would require amputation.
IDF soldiers took the girl
to the hospital, accompanied by her mother, who had also been wounded when an
artillery shell hit their home in the Dar’a region. The girl’s left thigh and
ankle were damaged as well.
Although her right leg suffered severe
fractures and much soft tissue was lost, the orthopedic and plastic surgery
operations were able to save and restore it.
Lerner said that the
international medical literature has no record of performing the Ilizarov
technique and rebuilding the leg of a child so young.
“She has now gotten
up herself from her bed and is walking around the department while fully putting
her weight on the leg,” he added.
The procedure involved an
interdisciplinary team of orthopedists, anesthesiologists, plastic surgeons,
physiotherapists and operating theater staffers.
“Without their efficient
cooperation, it would have been impossible to achieve success in such a serious
case. This brave girl, despite her serious wounds and being confined to bed for
so long, always smiled and said she wanted to walk with her foot,” said
The girl has become a favorite of the medical team and other
patients, who clapped their hands and hugged her when she took her first
With her continued progress in the coming days, she and her mother
– who was full of praise for the hospital – will be able to be discharged and
Ziv director-general Dr. Oscar Embon said that while the
hospital treated everyone, wounded and injured children especially touched the
hearts of the staff.
“The Syrian children who are here are like any other
children who were caught in a terrible situation in the fighting,” he said. “The
staff are treating them with endless devotion. For moments like these, in which
she has walked again, the satisfaction is the reason we became doctors and
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