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Hadassah doctors help Gaza girl speak and breathe on her own for first time in 7 years

By Mason White 5:04 PM July 3, 2013
Maria Aman 

By: Moses Gold
Doctors from Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, enabled a young Gaza girl to speak and breathe independently for the first time in seven years, according to a statement released by Hadassah.

Hadassah said that the parents of the child were told: “Her injuries are forever, for the rest of her life.” Hamdi Aman of Gaza is the father of seven-year-old, Maria.

However, overcoming international obstacles and lack of medical facilities, doctors partnered with Hadassah along with Columbia University Medical Center carried out life-changing surgery for Maria in order to enable her to breathe and speak for the first time since she was born.

In 2006, 4-year-old Maria was seriously injured and became a quadriplegic, unable to breathe and speak independently. Unable to be treated in a Gaza hospital, doctors in Israel considered her a “unique case”, and decided to treat Maria in an Israeli hospital. Later she was sent for rehabilitation at Alyn Woldenberg Family Hospital in Jerusalem.

Since then, she has been on a ventilator, and she uses her chin to operate a wheelchair. Israeli doctors determined that the only way to improve her condition was with surgery that involved technology, equipment and expertise not available in Israel.

Dr. Ginsberg arrived in Israel to perform the surgery. The surgery required placing two electrodes under her chest in the phrenic nerve, which controls the diaphragm.

After the successful surgery, Maria is back in the Alyn Hospital for recovery. In August, doctors predict she will be off her respirator and will breathe and speak independently.