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Iraqi 8-month-old Undergoes Surgery in Houston


An 8-month-old Iraqi infant, who had suffered nerve damage during birth, is expected to recover some kind of movement in his right hand after a successful surgery in Houston last week. The surgery lasted two hours and according to the doctor, “It went really well.”

The operating surgeon specializes in treating children with brachial-plexus injuries like this baby. Brachial-plexus injuries, also known as Erb’s Palsy, commonly happen during birth and are referred to as shoulder dystocia.

After discovering that the child’s nerves had been pulled out of the spinal cord, a nerve bypass operation was performed. Hospitals in Queens and Staten Island deal with these problems all the time.

The infant’s father, who staged a global search to find treatment for his son, sent out e-mails to at least fifteen specialists seeking for help. This doctor was the only one who responded, and he is performing the costly surgery for free through his Texas Nerve and Paralysis Institute. He has been consulting with the family since shortly after the boy’s birth.

Both parents are practicing pediatricians and knew that surgery to repair the damage, which left his right arm and shoulder paralyzed, should be performed within his first year of life for the greatest chance of success. But politics nearly kept him from coming to the surgery center in Houston. The Iraqi Ministry of Health currently has the ability to ban physicians from traveling outside the country – an effort to halt the exodus of doctors from the war-torn nation. The effort is aimed at keeping the needed skills inside the recovering nation.

It took months for the boy’s mother to be cleared to travel to the United States. The boy and his mother arrived in Houston the week before his surgery. The father was not allowed to come with his family.

“After their plight was publicized, the family received help from the National Iraqi Assistance Center in Baghdad, a humanitarian relief program run jointly by Iraqis and the U.S. Army Civil Affairs division. A Houston immigration attorney, Nicole Morrison, offered to house the family while they are in Houston,” said a doctor interested in the outcome of this case.

Although recovery can take up to a year, the little boy was expected to be released from the hospital a few days after his surgery return to Iraq within two weeks.

Doctors who commit this travesty should be held accountable. If negligence or lack of proper care has resulted in your child needing special care or surgery shortly after birth, or if you were kept in the dark about possible actions to take, contact an expert to find out everything you need to know to make the best informed

In cases such as these, doctors who are not careful enough in the sensitive situation of birth cause great damage to the limbs of babies. Minor cases resolve themselves in a matter of days or weeks, but severe cases result in gnarled and twisted appendages.

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