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Mon, 02/17/2014

Libyan Boy Operated Pro Bono by Doctor of PGD International

text by Martina Conradt

On 20 December 2013 Wasem only wanted to pursue his favorite pastime: to play football. A bit of normality in a country still struggling to come to terms with its most recent past. The eleven year old boy plays along with his friends on the football field of his sports club in Zawya while another boy from the neighborhood is wielding a weapon next to them. "Bang, bang, I'll shoot you down," he shouts. What was meant as fun between adolescence boys turned into a tragic accident in an instant, when the weapon unexpectedly fired a single shot and injured Wasem.

The bullet traveled through his shoulder into his chest. "It hurt terribly," the little boy with the brown eyes recalls. "And then I fainted." His friends carried the boy home immediately. His parents were desperate, everything had to happen very quickly and there was no one in the village who could have helped. When the boy's father, Mohamed Mansur, asked the committee in Zawya for help, he was put off. His son had to wait, he was told, injured soldiers had priority. At his own expense he brought the boy first to Tripoli, then to Tunisia. The doctors there gave him little hope. "They told me that the bullet would be in a very dangerous place and that the risk of Wasem become paralyzed due of an operation was too high so that they refused to operate him," the father says. But since the Committee Zawya has very close relations with PGD International for years and the Berlin doctors enjoy a very good reputation, the independent merchant decided to take his son to Germany at his own expenses. He asked friends and family for financial support and contacted the Office of PGD International in Berlin. On 8 January father and son landed in Berlin. For the employees of PGD International Nadya Chaabou and Soumeya Meraghni Wasem's fate becomes a personal matter. Both are mothers of boys about Wasem's age. Nadya Chaaboo says: "Wasem is a very brave little boy. We've all liked him immediately."

The operation was performed by Prof. Rudolf Ott, chief physician of the Clinic of General, Vascular and Visceral Surgery at Waldkrankenhaus Hospital which belongs to the PGD International network. And he could help the boy even on an outpatient basis. Prof. Ott: "The projectile only superficially entered the body. Therefore it was not difficult for us to surgically remove it. The boy did not even had to remain in the clinic afterwards."

Wasem's father Mohamed is ready to do everything to ensure that his son will be well again. He even wants to sell his small computer business and his family's house. Nadya Chaaboo: "We at PGD International, supported by our Executive Director Stephanie Wand, have spoken with all parties involved in the operation at Waldkrankenhaus. After examining the case, the manager, Mr. Schaulinski, agreed to waive the billing." Mohamed Mansur: "I thank all the staff at PGD International and Waldkrankenhaus Hospital from my heart for this wonderful, selfless help and that they helped that my over all beloved son is doing so well again." The young shooter in Libya was set frre after a short detention. It is highly unlikely that charges are brought against him. "Libya is a country shaken by a severe crises. Almost everybody carries guns here, even for children it is no problem to lay their hands on them. I know the shooter, since he was born. It was a mistake. He feels very sorry. My wife and I have forgiven him." And Wasem? He is looking forward to be united again with his mom and big sister who wants to become a doctor, to his friends and the football field.

Picture: Nadya Chaabou, Mohamed Mansur, Wasem Mansur, Soumeya Meraghni