Iraqi infant arrives in Atlanta for health care

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January 1, 2006 03:33
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An Iraqi infant with severe birth defects arrived in Atlanta for at least a month of medical treatment that was offered after US soldiers discovered the child during a raid on a home. Noor al-Zahra or, "Baby Noor," was accompanied Saturday by her grandmother and father. The smiling baby, wearing an orange outfit, was carried by the grandmother through the airport and to a waiting ambulance. "She said they're happy to be here," an airport worker said, translating the grandmother's comments from Arabic. US troops discovered the baby three weeks ago during a raid of a house in Abu Ghraib, a poverty-stricken district west of Baghdad. The soldiers noticed paralysis in the baby's legs and what appeared to be a tumor on her back. They later learned the 3-month-old child had spina bifida, a birth defect in which the backbone and spinal cord do not close before birth. The "tumor" on the baby's back was actually a fluid-filled sac containing part of the spinal cord and membranes that are supposed to cover the spinal cord. It isn't clear how much physicians would be able to do to help the child, said Dr. Roger Hudgins, a pediatric neurosurgeon who agreed to take the case.

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