Thursday, 1 December 2011

A Victim of Terrorism from Across the Border

The town of Kurram Agency, near the Pakistan – Afghanistan border in the Khyber Paktoon Province is a hotbed of terrorist activity and also a major market center. Syed Mehdi Hussain, 20, plied a taxi during the day and went to a night school. On the evening of February 18, 2008 Hussain was driving in the crowded narrow lanes of the Para Chinar Bazar of the Eidgah market, when a suicide bomber detonated a powerful explosive that killed 64 and injured over 200 people. Hussain was thrown out and his taxi totally destroyed, burnt to cinders. He was seriously injured — broken ribs, punctured lungs and multiple fractures in his right hand. Both his eyes were severely damaged.

Blinded and broken, Hussain spent almost 3 months in intensive care at a hospital in Peshawar. Back home, he was practically blind and had to depend upon others in his day-to-day life. Hussain's father is a farmer and his parents could not do very much more for their son. Despite promises by local politicians, he did not receive any government compensation. In March 2009, he underwent a surgery in his left eye. Through the efforts of relatives and friends, he moved to Islamabad, where the Al Shifa Trust took up his case. A friend, Adil Raza scoured the websites of eye hospitals all over the world and came upon the LVPEI website. He started corresponding with LVPEI over six months ago and doctors at LVPEI readily agreed to take up Hussain's case.

Hussain and his cousin Irfan Haider flew into Hyderabad on September 21, 2011. Hussain was seen in the clinic by both our cornea and retina specialists. On October 10, 2011, he underwent a complicated combination surgery in his left eye, for his retina and to place the Boston K-pro as an artificial cornea. He did well post-surgery, regaining ambulatory vision. On October 24th, he underwent another surgery by a glaucoma specialist to place the Ahmed Glaucoma Valve (AGV) to ease the intraocular pressure (IOP) build-up in the eye. Post-operative, his IOP was within normal limits.

Hussain returned home happy that he could now see well enough to be independent in his daily life. He was grateful to the doctors and the staff at LVPEI, who were extremely supportive and also subsidized his treatment costs.

Irfan Haider talking about his cousin Hussain

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