The first thing you notice when walking into the hospital room is Mohammad’s cheeky grin and huge brown eyes. From the first glance you can tell he is anything but shy.
Deeply involved in the cartoon playing in front of him, Mohammad’s eyes light up when he sees potentially new friends walk through the door. He couldn’t say much but every time he was asked a question, his eyes got bigger and his smile wider. His father and mother were standing by his bedside, unwavering — a concerned but relieved expression on their faces.
“He’s a very cheeky boy,” his father said. “He has a very technical mind. He knows how to work my phone better than me. As a person, he is extremely loving.”
From birth, Mohammad Abdur Rahman has lived with a spinal deformity that restricts the growth of his lungs. If left untreated, his condition could have been fatal.
Mohammad’s parents were uncertain of the road ahead, until they were told about The Little Wings Foundation.
Two years ago Imtiaz Ahmad, Mohammad’s father, approached Dr Marc Sinclair about his son. Dr Sinclair is the founder of The Little Wings Foundation, a non-profit organisation that was created in 2007.
“Private health care doesn’t cover conprivate part deformities here,” Dr Sinclair said. “Having seen numerous cases of children born with these conditions and unable to afford treatment put an urgency behind creating this foundation.”
Marc Sinclair is a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon and works for the Children’s Medical Centre in Dubai. Sinclair created and runs this organisation solely in his spare time.
“We couldn’t do it without our network of doctors and sponsors. Medcare Orthopaedic and Spinal Hospital has been so helpful in Mohammad’s case,” he said.
On Saturday Mohammad had his third surgery in two years. Dr Hefti, his doctor from his first surgery, flew in from Basel, Switzerland to assist in his surgery. Dr Hefti is a paediatric orthopaedist that took on Mohammad’s case as pro bono work.
Every surgery that is performed costs more than Dh100,000. During each operation, implants are inserted called a ‘veptr’ — vertical expandable prosthetic titanium ribs. These implants stretch the chest and increase the volume which give the lungs more space to grow.
This isn’t the last of his operations. Every six to nine months he will require a surgery that will extract the old implants and insert larger ones to keep up with his growing body. The process is a long and gruelling one, but eight-year-old Mohammad doesn’t show any signs of fear or weakness.
“He wants to be a policeman when he grows up,” his mother said. Rubina was overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. “They have been so caring. They’ve looked after him more than I could have imagined. We couldn’t be more grateful for the help they’ve given us.” [GN]