Abdul Hakeem Hussein Prepares To Go Back To Iraq

July 24, 2006

Six months ago, people in Pittsburgh had never heard of Abdul Hakeem Hussein. (Watch Video.)

Now that he’s part of the family, it will be hard to say goodbye.

Wounded during a bombing in Fallujah, the seven year old came to Pittsburgh in January for life-changing surgery.

Now he’s finally ready to go home — looking much different than when he arrived.

KDKA’s Dr. Maria Simbra reports that at this point, he’s anxious to go home.

He misses his family, especially his mom, and he’s ready to move on.

His doctor says he’s been a delightful, happy patient.

And the progress he’s made will be a happy surprise for his mother and his nine brothers and sisters.

Far from home, Abdul Hakeem Hussein has had three surgeries to fix disfiguring facial injuries — the result of a mortar attack in Fallujah in 2004.

Now, he’s finally going to return to Iraq.

His friends and family have not yet seen the results.

“I asked do you think your mother will be happy?” said UPMC interpreter Marie Teslovich. “He says yes. He thinks they will all be happy for him.”

First he had a lip reconstruction in March so he could eat and drink more easily.

Then in May, a balloon was put under his left cheek.

This was inflated over two months so he could grow new skin.

The new skin replaced about half the scar on his face in July.

“The most challenging part was anticipating getting normal skin into the area,” said Dr. Frederic Deleyiannis, Children’s Hospital Plastic Surgeon.

Also, the damage to the lower eyelid was repaired, and he got an artificial eye.

His wounds are sealed and healing, the bandage will fall off in a week, and the doctors don’t expect any further treatment will be needed.

Abdul Hakeem will bring home fond memories of Pittsburgh with him.

His father agrees, Pittsburgh has been a good to them.

“There’s a lot of good and nice people in Pittsburgh,” said Ismael Hussein.

And even though the situation in Iraq is not much different from when they left, he’s proud and happy to return.

Abdul Hakeem will have dinner with his host family tonight.

He and his father fly to New York City tomorrow.

Then they fly to Jordan.

From there, it’s a 10 hour drive to where they live in Iraq.

They’ll finally arrive home on Friday.

July 24, 2006
Abdul Hakeem Hussein Prepares To Go Back To Iraq
Six months ago, people in Pittsburgh had never heard of Abdul Hakeem Hussein. (Watch Video.)

Now that he’s part of the family, it will be hard to say goodbye.

Wounded during a bombing in Fallujah, the seven year old came to Pittsburgh in January for life-changing surgery.

Now he’s finally ready to go home — looking much different than when he arrived.

KDKA’s Dr. Maria Simbra reports that at this point, he’s anxious to go home.

He misses his family, especially his mom, and he’s ready to move on.

His doctor says he’s been a delightful, happy patient.

And the progress he’s made will be a happy surprise for his mother and his nine brothers and sisters.

Far from home, Abdul Hakeem Hussein has had three surgeries to fix disfiguring facial injuries — the result of a mortar attack in Fallujah in 2004.

Now, he’s finally going to return to Iraq.

His friends and family have not yet seen the results.

“I asked do you think your mother will be happy?” said UPMC interpreter Marie Teslovich. “He says yes. He thinks they will all be happy for him.”

First he had a lip reconstruction in March so he could eat and drink more easily.

Then in May, a balloon was put under his left cheek.

This was inflated over two months so he could grow new skin.

The new skin replaced about half the scar on his face in July.

“The most challenging part was anticipating getting normal skin into the area,” said Dr. Frederic Deleyiannis, Children’s Hospital Plastic Surgeon.

Also, the damage to the lower eyelid was repaired, and he got an artificial eye.

His wounds are sealed and healing, the bandage will fall off in a week, and the doctors don’t expect any further treatment will be needed.

Abdul Hakeem will bring home fond memories of Pittsburgh with him.

His father agrees, Pittsburgh has been a good to them.

“There’s a lot of good and nice people in Pittsburgh,” said Ismael Hussein.

And even though the situation in Iraq is not much different from when they left, he’s proud and happy to return.

Abdul Hakeem will have dinner with his host family tonight.

He and his father fly to New York City tomorrow.

Then they fly to Jordan.

From there, it’s a 10 hour drive to where they live in Iraq.

They’ll finally arrive home on Friday.

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