Tuesday, May 23, 2017

EXCLUSIVE: Neurosurgeon reveals details of Malala operation after Taliban attack

Dr Mumtaz Ali, a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital in Swat, narrated how he got a call around midnight about an injury and started preparations to receive the patient


Five years have passed since the young Malala Yousafzai was shot at by the Taliban, but some people continue to dish out rumours and express doubts about whether the attack ever took place. 

Social media was again abuzz when a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Mussarat Ahmed Zeb claimed in a series of tweets that the attack on the Nobel peace prizewinner was staged and that the medics and the doctor who conducted the CT scan and examined her were awarded plots by the government.

In a first, the neurosurgeon who was the first doctor to operate on Nobel Peace laureate appeared in Geo News show 'Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Saath' to put to rest all such claims.

Malala being treated by army officials - ISPR

Dr Mumtaz Ali, a doctor at the Lady Reading Hospital, Peshawar, narrated how he got a call around midnight about an injury and started preparations to receive the patient. But Malala was instead shifted to the Combined Military Hospitals (CMH), he said. 

Ali was called in the afternoon from the clinic to perform a checkup of Malala.

“She was unconscious [when I saw her]. She had a severe head injury,” he said.

The doctor then found a mark on her head made by a bullet which had entered her left temporal of the brain, which is responsible for speech functions. The bullet had passed through the neck to the shoulder.

“She looked pale and the CT scan showed the left part of the brain was severely injured,” Ali said.

Ali said that he instructed his colleagues to not perform any other medical procedure and only administer medicines to Malala, and decided to perform a check-up after two hours. 

At around midnight, he got a call from his colleague who informed him that Malala’s condition was deteriorating.“They said she is going to die.” 

Ali rushed to the hospital and gauged the situation. The doctors performed a tracheostomy and then an “extensive surgery” on the brain and removed the bullet.

The surgery ended at 4AM.

Ali said that he, a senior neurosurgeon and a brigadier at the CMH performed a check-up of Malala and decided that no further treatment, apart from “rehabilitation” was required. Malala was kept in CMH for two days and then was sent abroad for further treatment.

Ali rubbished the claims that the attack did not happen, saying there is a marked difference in the way Malala now speaks due to an injured facial nerve on the left side of the face.

He added that the procedure itself was not difficult, but the timeliness of the decision was.

“In case of a delay of 2-3 hours or perhaps even minutes, Malala might not have been around. And that would have laid to rest all these rumours as well.”

Malala had fought for years for the right of girls to education in her home region in Pakistan.

She leapt to global fame after a Taliban gunman shot her in the head on a school bus in October 2012 for defending her right to attend school.

In April, Malala became youngest United Nations Messenger of Peace. She was also awarded honorary Canadian citizenship in the same month.