Malala undergoes 6th surgery to recover from Taliban bullet

She shared her account on post-surgery struggles

Pakistani Nobel peace prize-holder Malala Yousafzai has shared her nine-year journey to recovery after she was shot by the Taliban. In a post published at Podium, she provides a detailed account of her medical treatment after the attack and revealed that she had recently undergone the sixth survey to mend the damage caused by the Taliban bullet.

In 2012, 15-year-old Malala was shot in the head by outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) gunmen when she was on her way home from school in Mingora, Swat. The attack was seen as retribution for her speaking up for the rights of women after girls’ schools were shut down in Swat. TTP took the responsibility for the attempt. Fortunately, she survived the attack and was flown to Birmingham, England, for surgery.

Today, 24-year-old, Malala shared on social media that she is still recovering from the injuries she had undergone nine years ago.

“Two weeks ago, while U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban gained control, I lay in a hospital bed in Boston, undergoing my sixth surgery, as doctors continued to repair the Taliban’s damage to my body,” she said.

While recalling the incident she said that in October 2012, a member of the Pakistani Taliban broke into her school bus and shot her into her left temple.

“The bullet grazed my left eye, skull and brain – lacerating my facial nerve, shattering my eardrum and breaking my jaw joints.”

She spoke in detail about what went into the surgery right after she was taken into medical care after the attack.

“The emergency surgeons in Peshawar, Pakistan removed my left temporal skull bone to create space for my brain to swell in response to the injury. Their quick action saved my life, but soon my organs began to fail and I was airlifted to the capital city, Islamabad. A week later, doctors determined that I needed more intense care and should be moved out of my home country to continue treatment.”

Malala said she did not have any recollection of the day she was shot as she went into an induced coma. She opened her eyes at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, U.K and it was relieving for her to find out that she survived.

She described her painful experiences of post-surgery.

“I had the most severe head pain. My vision was blurry. The tube in my neck made it impossible to talk.” She said that even after days she was not able to speak, but she communicated by writing on a notebook and would show it anyone who was attending her. In the post, Malala said that she could not recognize half of her face after the surgery.

“The other half was unfamiliar — black eye, sprinkles of gun powder, no smile, no frown, no movement at all.”

At the time she was recovering, she one day touched her abdomen and found something unusual. “It felt hard and stiff. I asked the nurse if there was a problem with my stomach.”

She was told that the Pakistani surgeons had removed part of her skull bone and relocated it in her stomach. She was informed that it would take another surgery to place it back in her head.  

“But the U.K. doctors eventually decided to fit a titanium plate where my skull bone had been, reducing the risk of infection, in a procedure called a cranioplasty.”

She wrote that the doctors took the piece of the skull out of her stomach and it sits om Malala’s bookshelf to this day.

She went through multiple facial surgeries for the restructuring of her face as she suffered from facial paralysis. To treat her paralysis, she underwent two major surgeries in 2018 and 2019. She shared the account of her third major surgery which took place on August 9.

“On August 9 in Boston, I woke up at 5:00 am to go to the hospital for my latest surgery and saw the news that the Taliban had taken Kunduz, the first major city to fall in Afghanistan,” she wrote. “Over the next few days, with ice packs and a bandage wrapped around my head, I watched as province after province fell to men with guns, loaded with bullets like the one that shot me.”


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