A schoolgirl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan has undergone successful surgery, doctors have said. The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham confirmed that Malala Yousufzai (15) underwent cranial reconstruction and cochlear implantation procedures on Saturday.
A hospital spokeswoman said Malala’s medical team were ‘very pleased’ with her progress following the operations, which lasted for around five hours. Commenting on the surgery, the spokeswoman said, “Both operations were a success and Malala is now recovering in hospital. Her condition is described as stable and her medical team are very pleased with the progress she has made so far. She is awake and talking to staff and members of her family.”
Malala has been receiving treatment at the hospital since she was flown to Britain in October after being shot in north-west Pakistan for promoting women’s rights. Doctors at the hospital said on Wednesday that Malala was set to undergo surgery for what they hoped would be the last time. The teenager required the fitting of a custom-made titanium plate to repair damage to her skull, as well as a cochlear implant to help her recover hearing in her left ear.
Road to recovery
Speaking earlier this week, Dr Dave Rosser, medical director at the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said both procedures were routinely carried out at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Dr Rosser described Malala as a ‘remarkable young woman’ who had made great progress in her recovery.
He also said she was fully aware of the threats the Taliban had made against her life. Addressing a media briefing on Wednesday, Dr Rosser said: “She’s not naive at all about what happened to her and the situation in terms of her high profile. She’s incredibly determined to continue to speak for her cause.”
Dr Rosser said it could take between 15 and 18 months for any hearing to recover in her left ear but added that in time she would have almost normal levels of hearing, thanks to the surgery. Dr Rosser also credited the surgeons who operated on Malala in Pakistan soon after she was shot with saving her life.
Malala escaped death by a matter of inches when she was shot on October 9 last year as the bullet entered just above her left eye and ran along her jaw, grazing her brain. In a statement, the hospital said Malala would continue her recuperation as an inpatient until she was well enough to be discharged.
Malala nominated for Nobel peace prize
Malala has been nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. The 15-year-old, was put forward by three Norwegian MPs, who praised her ‘commitment so threatening to extremists that they tried to kill her’. Freddy de Ruiter, from the country’s Labor party, said her courage in speaking out, particularly on the subject of a girls’ right to education, made her a worthy candidate.