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Kenyan Girl’s Life Saved With Drastic Spine Surgery

Posted by Administrator on January 24, 2012

Salma before the operation

Salma before the operation

INDIANAPOLIS — A 12-year-old girl with a severe case of scoliosis is getting a second chance at life after undergoing surgery at an Indianapolis hospital.

Salma Suleman, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya, couldn’t walk more than 10 feet at a time because of the drastic curve of her spine, which also threatened to crush her lungs and heart, RTV6’s Tanya Spencer reported.

The Chetah Gives Back Foundation in San Diego brought Suleman to the United States, and the Peyton Manning Children Hospital at St. Vincent offered to perform the risky surgery for free.

 “Her curve was so severe, when you looked at her from behind, her shoulder blade was actually touching her hip,” said surgeon Dr. David Schwartz with OrthoIndy.
He said Suleman’s scoliosis was the most severe case he’d seen in his 17 years as a spine surgeon.
“We operate on children when their curves are 45 or 50 degrees. We put them in braces when they’re 25 or 30 degrees,” Schwartz said. “She’s 12 years old, and her curve was 170 degrees.”
Schwartz performed the nearly 12-hour surgery, with Suleman receiving 15 levels of fusion.
Three weeks later, she can stand up straight, walk without pain and lift her arms. The surgery has also given her a new outlook on life.
 “I feel happy,” Suleman said. “I was losing my hope, but he’s brought my hope back.” Suleman was released from the hospital Monday. She’ll spend about a month in rehab in San Diego before heading home, where Schwartz plans to visit her.
Suleman said she wants to be a surgeon someday so she can help children the way Schwartz helped her.

3 Responses to “Kenyan Girl’s Life Saved With Drastic Spine Surgery”

  1. Wamaitu said

    Thanks to all the docs. God bless u all for giving that surgery to this young girl

  2. NOORA said


  3. Moraa said

    How sweet! Thank you Dr Schwartz. May God bless your work

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