Malala, 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by Taliban, can recover, UK doctors say
LONDON -- Malala Yousufzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, has every chance of making a "good recovery," British doctors said on Monday as she arrived at a hospital in central England for treatment of her severe wounds.
Yousufzai, who was shot for advocating education for girls, was flown from Pakistan to receive specialist treatment at a unit at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital that has expertise in dealing with complex trauma cases. The unit has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.
"Doctors... believe she has a chance of making a good recovery on every level," said Dr. Dave Rosser, the hospital's medical director, adding that her treatment and rehabilitation could take months.
He told reporters Yousufzai, whose shooting has drawn widespread condemnation, had not yet been assessed by British medics but said she would not have been brought to Britain at all if her prognosis was not good.
TV footage showed a patient, believed to be the schoolgirl, being rushed from an ambulance into the hospital surrounded by a large team of medical staff.
She will undergo scans to reveal the extent of her injuries, but Rosser said doctors could not provide any further details without her agreement.
Pakistani surgeons removed a bullet from near the girl's spinal cord during a three-hour operation the day after the attack last week, but she now needs intensive specialist follow-up care. Treatment is likely to include repairing damaged bones in her skull and complex neurological follow-up.
"Injuries to bones in the skull can be treated very successfully by the neurosurgeons and the plastic surgeons, but it is the damage to the blood supply to the brain that will determine long-term disability," said Duncan Bew, consultant trauma surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in London. Judging the best way forward in such difficult cases requires a wide range of experienced medics working as a team.
"In trauma, it is really the coordinated impact of intensive care that is critical. It's not just about keeping the patient alive but also maximising their rehabilitation potential. With neurological injuries that is paramount," Bew said. (continue reading...)