Badly injured child able to walk again after six hour spinal surgery in UAE

A six-year-old boy has undergone life-changing spinal surgery at Zulekha Hospital in Sharjah which has enabled him to walk again after being confined to a wheelchair for the past three years.

Ali (full name withheld), originally from Africa, lost his ability to walk after suffering major trauma when he was run over during attacks by an extremist group in 2014.

The little boy had been experiencing pain that was progressing over the past three months. Examination revealed kyphotic swelling in the lumbar area, and he walked with a left side spasm leaving him unable to walk more than 10 metres.

Ali was flown from Nigeria to the UAE by Dickens Sanomi Foundation, who collaborated with Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care, GIPLC, in order to undergo the life-changing surgery. The boy survived the corrective surgery at Zulekha Hospital Sharjah and defied doctors’ belief after walking just seven days after the major surgery.

Sharjah and the hospital were the ideal destination for the child’s recovery given the ongoing efforts of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment (NAMA), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children, and Wife of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to make the world a better and a safer place in line with the UAE’s #Year of Giving 2017.

Dr. Nishith Bhargava, Consultant Neurosurgeon at Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, described Ali as "a very strong boy who is determined to live". He added, "The complications were with respect 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."

Immediately following the surgery, the boy was admitted to the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for 48 hours where his progress was closely monitored. After just seven days, the boy walked on his own accord and is continuing to make a speedy recovery.

Dr. Bhargava continued, "It is usual that patients undergoing such a surgery would need intensive physiotherapy and at least three weeks to be able to walk again. Ali has blown us away with his rapid miraculous recovery."

Managing Director of Zulekha Healthcare Group, Taher Shams, said, "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."

Hassan Hua of Global Initiative for Peace, Love and Care, coordinator of the medical visit, said, "Young Ali's recovery after surgery has been described as a miracle and very rapid, to everyone's surprise."