Malala, Pakistani girl shot by Taliban to undergo skull surgery

Thursday, January 31, 2013
Pakistani schoolgirls and activist Malala Yousafzai delivering
speech during a programme, Malala was shot Tuesday by the 
Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women
[Photo Credit:]


Islamabad: Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage activist shot in the head by the Taliban, is to undergo major surgery in the next few days to reconstruct her skull.

Dr. Dave Rosser of Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Northern England said on January 30 that Malala will undergo what is called titanium cranioplasty to replace a missing part of her skull with a titanium plate.

"She does still have the portion of skull that was removed in Pakistan in the initial surgery implanted in her abdomen but the surgeons, in consultation with Malala, have decided that fitting of a titanium plate is a better long-term procedure than trying to reimplant this bone after such a long period of time," Rosser said.

"So instead of replanting the bone, the bone will be removed from under the skin in her stomach and cleaned up and sterilized and given to Malala, who wishes to keep it as a memory, I guess."

They said Malala was completely deaf in her left ear and that surgeons will fit a device to help her hear.
The doctors added that Malala showed no other signs of permanent brain injury such as memory loss or hormone changes.

Rosser said Malala's full recovery could take another 12 to 18 months.

Standing up to the Taliban
Malala, 15, was shot in the head and neck in October as she was returning home from her school in Pakistan's volatile Swat region. She was targeted by militants for her work in promoting girls' education.

 Rosser praised what he described as Malala's resilience and her desire to get better.

 "She is not naive at all about what happened to her and the situation is looking forward to in terms of being a high-profile person and potentially a high-profile target, I guess as would be seen by some people," Rosser said.

 "She is not naive to any of that but she remains incredibly cheerful, incredibly determined, and incredibly determined to continue to speak for her cause. She really is a remarkable young lady."

Malala initially underwent life-saving surgery in Pakistan. She was then flown to Britain in October for specialized medical care to recover from the physical and psychological effects of her injuries and trauma.

Earlier this month, Pakistan's government gave a diplomatic job in Britain to Malala's father.

Ziauddin Yousafzai was appointed Pakistan's education attache in Birmingham, allowing Malala’s family to remain nearby during her treatment.

Copyright (c) 2013. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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