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Syrian Girl Attacked by Terrorists Gets Help Rebuilding Her Face and Life in Oklahoma

Tuesday, April 01, 2014 - Campus News -

Suzana is a typical 17-year-old who enjoys computer games and hanging out with friends. One day, last fall, her life changed forever when she was shot by snipers in her hometown of Homs, a city in western Syria. Five months later, her physical scars are virtually non-existent, thanks to the help of surgeons and providers with OU Children's Physicians and Dean McGee Eye Institute.

Last fall, Suzana was walking home from school with two of her friends when snipers began shooting at them. Her friends were killed and Suzana was shot in the head and left for dead. Somehow she survived, but she lost her left eye and some brain tissue. Her wound was attended to and her skin sewn closed at a Syrian hospital and she was sent home to recover. 

Thanks to friends and family living in Oklahoma, Suzana was able to come here and be seen by physicians at OU Children's Physicians and Dean McGee Eye Institute. Once here, Timothy Mapstone, M.D., chair of Neurosurgery at the OU College of Medicine, and Christian El Amm, M.D., OU Children's Physicians plastic surgeon, performed a combined procedure for reconstruction of the bones in her eye socket and frontal area. Additionally, Mapstone surgically repaired dural (pertaining to the outermost and toughest of three membranes covering the brain) tears and removed some dead brain tissue. 

Once Suzana's eye was prepared for a prosthetic eye, she was seen by Annie Moreau, M.D., and Reagan H. Bradford, Jr., M.D., at Dean McGee Eye Institute and Nancy Lambert, B.C.O., director of Ocular Prosthetic Services, who fitted and designed her prosthetic eye. She received her new eye on March 17, six days before her 17th birthday.

"Our entire team, including all these physicians, nurses and therapists are all committed to returning children, like Suzana, to health and normal childhood," Mapstone said.    

Suzana is anxious to return to her home in Syria at the end of April. She will return to school in the fall, as a high school senior.

OU Children's 
Physicians practice as part of OU Physicians, Oklahoma's largest physician group. The group encompasses nearly every child and adult medical specialty.  More than 175 of these specialists committed their practices to the care of children. The majority of OU Children's Physicians are board certified in children's specialties. Many provide pediatric-specific services unavailable elsewhere in the state. Some have pioneered surgical procedures or innovations in patient care that are world firsts. 

OU Children's
Physicians see patients in their offices at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and other cities around Oklahoma. When hospitalization is necessary, they often admit patients to The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center. Many children with birth defects, critical injuries or serious diseases who can't be helped elsewhere come to OU Children's Physicians. Oklahoma doctors and parents rely on OU Children's Physicians depth of experience, nationally renowned expertise and sensitivity to children's emotional needs.

The Dean McGee Eye Institute
Is dedicated to serving all Oklahomans and the global community through excellence and leadership in patient care, education and vision research.  It is one of the largest and most respected eye institutes in the United States and houses the Department of Ophthalmology for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Its research and training programs are among the most highly regarded in the country.  Twenty of the Institute's ophthalmologists are listed in the Best Doctors in America; its Director of Vision Research is a Past President of the International Society for Eye Research, Past Vice President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and a recipient of  ARVO's prestigious Proctor Medal; two members of the faculty are recent or current directors of the American Board of Ophthalmology; three serve on the Board of Trustees of the American Academy of Ophthalmology; one is Vice Chair of the Residency Review Committee in Ophthalmology for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education; and one is President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and a Past President of the American Glaucoma Society.   

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