Jordanian king treats Lebanese child hit by stray bullet
An eight-year old Lebanese girl hit by a stray bullet was flown to Jordan on Wednesday to receive specialised medical treatment after Jordan’s King Abdullah II took special interest in her case.
Suhaila Kassar was playing in front of her house in the northern Lebanese province of Akkar last week when she was struck by a stray bullet from an unknown shooter. The bullet lodged itself in her spine and despite being rushed to a hospital, she was unable to receive the proper care she needed in Lebanese hospitals.
After hearing of her case, former Lebanese ambassador to Jordan, Tracy Chamoun, immediately reached out to the Jordanian King, as her family has been close to the Jordanian royal family since the days of King Hussein.
“His response was immediate and full of compassion, and he said he would take care of it,” Chamoun told The New Arab.
King Abdullah dispatched a medical team on a C-130 plane to the Beirut airport, where they received Suhaila and transported her and her father to Jordan. She was welcomed by Crown Prince Hussein and the king’s personal doctor at King Hussein Medical City in Amman.
She has since undergone a surgery to remove the bullet from her spine, which doctors managed to carry out without severing the cord or cause spinal fluid to leak, according to Chamoun.
“It is still unknown whether she will walk again, but we are doing everything we can to put the odds in her favor,” Chamoun said, explaining that it will be a few weeks before doctors can asses the long term impact the bullet will have on Suhaila.
While the king's intervention may have had life-changing consequences in Suhaila's case, Chamoun says the incident points to deeper faults in Lebanon’s healthcare system.
“It’s symptomatic of the lack of concern for the welfare of Lebanese citizens, and is a microcosm of the larger lack of compassion that was displayed at the time of the explosion as well,” Chamoun said. “God help you if you have an accident or you require any surgery because the care is just not there.”