Wounded Syrian girl walks again, thanks to Israeli hospital

8-year-old had her right leg shattered by mortar attack on her home in Daraa region.

Ziv hosptial situation room_311 (photo credit: Ziv Hospital)
Ziv hosptial situation room_311
(photo credit: Ziv Hospital)
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, enabling 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 steps.
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 Lerner.
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 steps.
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 sent home.
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 nurses.”