Healing the Scars of War

Local doctors are donating their time to help Farah heal

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Steven Luke

    A little girl bearing the painful scars of war has undergone the first of three donated operations at Palomar Medical Center.

    The 3-year-old from Northern Gaza is proof that the world's events are never far from home.

    Take one look into those big brown eyes, at that beautiful smile and you can see why the name Farah is a perfect expression of her personality.

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    “Her name is Farah in Arabic, in English it means joy," her guardian parent Amal Atih said.

    But, she also knows far more pain than any 3-year-old ever should. Her entire body is covered with scars.

    Farah's caretakers say she is an innocent victim, injured last year in the midst of the Israeli Palestinian conflict when a bomb landed in her neighborhood.

    “When I give her a bath… and we tried to wash her… she complained of pain here and there," Atih said.

    Several of Farah's family members were killed in the blast. Her mother was injured and died shortly after a picture was taken that Atih showed to Farah for the first time last week.

    “As soon as she saw her mom, she was speechless for moments. She started scraping with her fingers saying wa wa, wa wa, (which) means pain," Atih said

    But, hopefully her pain will be slowly lifted in the coming weeks as plastic surgeons begin work to stretch out her normal tissue in an effort to remove and cover the damaged tissue.

    Once fully recovered, the plan is for Farah to return to Gaza to be with her dad, bringing with her a story of healing to replace the painful scars of their past.

    The Palestinian Children’s Relief Fund arranged Farrah’s trip to the U.S. for help.

    Dr. Michael Hall and Dr. Munish Batraare are the two surgeons donating their services. They say Farah made it through the first surgery just fine. She is listed in good stable condition.