Baby Noor having foot surgery

Friday, February 24th, 2006 9:23 am by Neal

Baby Noor having foot surgery:

A surgeon at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta plans to perform foot surgery today on Noor al-Zahra of Iraq, the 5-month-old girl brought to the United States for treatment of her spina bifida.

The doctor hopes to correct a problem that has caused the toes and heel of Noor’s left foot to curl downward, hospital officials said in a statement. The severe form of spina bifida from which Noor suffers has paralyzed her below the waist. But the surgery will let her wear shoes and lessen the risk of skin problems, hospital officials said.

The surgery is planned as an outpatient procedure, meaning Noor could soon return to a metro Atlanta host family, said Helen Shepard, a spokeswoman for Childspring International, a Christian nonprofit that brings children to the United States for medical care.

Georgia National Guard soldiers with a Gainesville-based unit of the 48th Brigade Combat Team encountered Noor while raiding a house near Baghdad three months ago. They appealed for and received help from friends and relatives in metro Atlanta, as well as Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), for Noor to leave Iraq with her father and grandmother for treatment in Atlanta.

Childspring helped arrange Noor’s care and matched her with a metro Atlanta host family. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta donated its services, with doctors performing a successful surgery Jan. 9 and checking on Noor periodically.

After today’s surgery, Noor has appointments with members of her medical team — a neurologist, urologist and orthopedic surgeon, Shepard said. Noor is expected to wear a cast on her left leg for about three weeks and a brace for two or three months after that.

It is unclear when Noor and her father and grandmother will return to Iraq.

Childspring and the Spina Bifida Association of Georgia recently introduced Noor, her father and her grandmother to three people, ages 2, 7 and 25, who have spina bifida, an experience that helped convey what life may have in store for Noor.

In addition, Noor, her father and her grandmother have ventured out with American friends to visit places such as the World of Coca-Cola in downtown Atlanta, Shepard said.

“They’re doing great,” she said.

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