Iraqi Boy Gets a New Face From an American Doctor

Princess 19 on 30 Mar 2011 at 12:00am

For many countries, war is an everyday occurrence. The most tragic situations come with the loss or injury of innocent people, especially children, caught in the gunfire. One young victim’s plight brought him to America for reconstructive plastic surgery.

His name is Wa'ad, a 9-year-old Iraqi boy who inadvertently detonated a bomb while playing in his hometown. He and his friends thought they were kicking around a regular bottle. Sadly, it was a bomb. The blast caused him to lose his eye, his right arm, and his left leg. He was brought to the U.S. by the Global Medical Relief Fund. Its founder, Elissa Montanti, heard of Wa’ad’s story from an American soldier fighting in Iraq. She arranged for him to receive various medical treatments to correct his injuries. All time, work, and equipment were completely donated, and his journey was recently covered on 60 Minutes

Wa'ad and Dr. Alizadeh

Dr. Kaveh Alizadeh of the Long Island Plastic Surgical Group had the task of reconstructing Wa’ad’s batteredface. He had a prominent scar from his head to the bottom of his face.  

"My plan today is to go ahead and expand the skin surrounding the scar, putting a sophisticated tissue balloon underneath the skin and the skin slowly stretches over time," said Dr. Alizadeh. "My goal with Wa'ad is that the defects that he has will not be noticeable when he becomes a young man."

Ms. Montanti’s efforts to raise money, medical donations, and help are all done with love and the ambition to help innocent children like Wa’ad. She asks everyone and anyone that will listen.

"I tell 'em this true story. Here's a child that's battered. I just tell them the reality. I expect them to help. I'm grateful, 'cause they don't have to help. But I expect that they would, because how could you not?" she asked.

The brave boy endured much pain and suffering as the skin stretched over the course of 3 months. In his finalsurgery, Dr. Alizadeh removed the balloons, cut out the scars and joined the new skin together. His mother wept when she saw her son in recovery. To her, the doctor had brought back her little boy – the one before the accident.

facial reconstruction before and afterOver the next few years, Wa’ad will come back to the States for check-ups as he goes through the healing process. When asked why the doctor donates his time and efforts towards helping a child he does not know, he replies, "I do this probably for the most selfish reason, which is that it feels good."

Watch the entire 60 Minutes episode below.



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Photo Credit: GMRF Facebook Page
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