Pakistani Girl undergoes 100th surgery

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LAHORE: Miracles do happen – something which can be borne out by the example of a young girl who had recently undergone her 100th surgery at the Shaikh Zayed Hospital, Lahore.

The 100th surgery was performed on Green Town’s Fauzia Yousuf, 25, who has been suffering from “fibromatoses” from an early age. She belongs to a family with limited means and many of her dear ones also are grappling with ailments, some of which are said to be life-threatening.

As for Fauzia’s case, doctors call her survival nothing short of a miracle.

Surgeon says it’s a unique case in country

The fibromatoses, says a doctor, are a diverse group of soft-tissue lesions that occur at different ages and anatomic locations. “They are composed of spindle-shaped fibrous cells that are separated and surrounded by abundant collagen material with rare mitoses. Their biologic behavior is intermediate in aggressiveness between benign fibrous lesions and fibrosarcoma.”

According to the doctor who has been treating Fauzia, she grew up in the hospital rather than home as she started visiting the health facility when she was studying in Class II. Hers is a unique case and she has become familiar to everyone in the administration and even in many other departments due to her years-long stay, he says.

The surgeons were quite optimistic about complete recovery of Fauzia until her last operation, the 100th one, during which they detected some complications in her blood tests and body possibly due to frequent administration of anesthetic drugs.

SZH Orthopedic Department head Prof Dr Shafiq Ahmad Shafaq, who performed 55 consecutive surgeries on the left forearm of the girl, said: “When I completed 100th successful operation of the patient under general anesthesia, I felt it’s nothing short of a miracle,” Prof Shafiq told Dawn. He said it’s a rare case in the medical history of the country but it was shocking to see the disease has also appeared on her legs from where skin was being taken to graft the diseased area (arm) during every surgery. “The incidence of recurrence is alarming,” he said.

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“Fauzia first visited our department for surgery when she was eight years old and was studying in Class II,” Dr Shafiq recalled and praised the girl for her courage and patience. He said after she had undergone 55 surgeries at the SZH, he suggested amputation of her arm but she clearly said she would embrace death rather than being disabled for life.

The first 43 procedures were performed by senior surgeon Prof Dr Hamid Qayyum and after his retirement the rest of the operations (barring two) were performed by Prof Shafiq.

“I was assistant professor at the orthopedic unit when I first operated upon the girl,” he said. He said now he was about to the reach the age of superannuation but “the patient still requires a lot of surgeries as the incidence of recurrence of fibromatoses has been 97pc.”

“Now after 100 surgeries this particular case has entered a critical and troubling phase for us due to the toxic effects of drugs and unavailability of the skin from her body for graft,” said the surgeon. “We are much concerned about her life because no donor area for skin grafting is available in her body,” Prof Shafiq said and added that it was nightmarish to see the disease appearing on other parts of her body.

“The only option left for him is application of artificial skin graft on the diseased area but this facility is not available in Pakistan and the treatment abroad is very expensive,” said the doctor. He said all possible efforts were being made to lessen the girl’s pain and bring smile to her face. (Dawn)