First injured Libyan child brought to Paddington hospital

The first injured Libyan child to be flown to the UK for expert medical treatment was brought to a Paddington hospital last night (Thursday, September 22).

Fifteen-year-old Abdul Malek El Hamdi was evacuated from Tripoli and brought to St Mary’s Hospital in Praed Street suffering from lower limb injuries, after a grenade exploded at his school.

The teenager is the first of up to 50 injured patients the Libyan Government has asked the NHS to provide care for.

St Mary’s was approached to provide advanced treatment and rehabilitation to Abdul, not currently available in his native Tripoli.

On arrival the teenager was assessment by the St Mary’s A&E and trauma team.

They found that he had a number of infected wounds, which were causing him substantial pain and a temperature.

X-rays revealed Abdul’s left leg was littered with fragments of the grenade - large pieces of which were embedded in his foot.

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The surgical team operated immediately to remove the shrapnel and stem the spread of infection.

Mr Shehan Hettiaratchy, clinical lead for plastic and reconstructive surgeon, said: “Abdul suffered severe and life-changing injuries to his left leg. His wounds are infected and could have stopped him from walking again.

“We are delighted to be able to continue Abdul’s treatment at St Mary’s, and hopeful that we’ve saved his leg.

“Ultimately we want to give him the treatment he can’t currently get at home so he’ll be able to live a full and normal life again.”

Abdul is currently being looked after on a children’s ward by St Mary’s team of expert paediatricians.

It is likely that he will need more surgery in coming weeks.

St Mary’s was approached to take victims of the Libyan conflict as the hospital is one of London’s four major trauma centres, designed to treat the most complex and critically injured patients.

Many surgeons at the hospital also have direct experience dealing with bomb blast injuries, after working in war zones and areas of natural disaster like Afghanistan and Haiti.

The cost of Abdul’s care is being fully funded by the Libyan authorities.

A hospital spokeswoman said: “Careful attention is being paid in planning this treatment to ensure that our NHS patients, which remain our priority, are not adversely affected.”