Houston docs help child with female mutilation

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HOUSTON – She is one of unfortunate thousands, but she is lucky to be getting help.

Seven year old Hadiatu Jalloh from the west African nation of Guinea has been suffering from complications of a traditional female genital mutilation performed in her country over a year ago.

After the circumcision, she began to bleed, so her mother sought for help from village to village.

She went through a procedure where a person sewed up her vagina to stop the bleeding leaving little to no space for her to pass urine.

Houston’s Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith has worked in Africa where Hadiatu’s situation was brought to her attention.

Dr Hardwick-Smith, who’s an OBGYN and organized the effort said, “She was in a hospital in Sierra Leone and wasn’t able to get care there since her problem was rather complicated and so we arranged to have her brought here to women’s hospital to receive the
treatment that she needed.”

Dr. Hardwick-Smith organized a team of doctors and approached the Woman’s Hospital of Texas who all agreed to donate their time and facilities.

The team, led by Dr. Eric Jones, was uncertain about what they would find, but were happy to discover that Hadiatu’s problem could be solved by removing scar tissue.

“Turned out to be basically the best of all outcomes. Really was relatively straight forward, and no major reconstruction,” Dr. Jones said.

And now free from pain, the doctors expect in a week she’ll be back to being a normal seven year old girl.

Hadiatu said, with the help of a translator, “She says she’s very happy that they’ve made her well and they’ve given her lots of gifts.”

Uma Jalloh, Hadiatu’s mom, couldn’t be more relieved and happy as well.

Uma said, with the help of a translator, “She says she cannot say anymore than she actually express how she feels. She is so grateful her daughter has been saved.”

We asked Hadiatu what the first thing she wanted to do when she got out of the hospital, her reply, “she wants to wear underwear.”

And thanks to the amazing team at the Women’s Hospital, she’ll get to do just that!

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