SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A 3-year-old Iraqi boy came to San Francisco for surgery and a new chance at life Friday. He lost his hearing when a U.S. missile struck the house next door, but the boy is now recovering at UCSF.
"This is like a birthday for Mustafa today. He is born again," said father Ghazwan Al-Nadawi through a translator.
Happiness, relief and hope from the father of little 3-year-old Mustafa Ghazwan. Mustafa's hearing was destroyed when a missile exploded in his neighborhood in June 2007. Three other children were killed.
Mustafa was brought to UCSF from Iraq for the procedure, which installed an implant that turns sound waves into electronic signals. The operation was a success.
Dr. Lawrence Lustig and other members of the medical team waived their fees.
"Actually in his case it was easy because his anatomy was so good. Everything was wide open. We got a full insertion on the implant. It was very straightforward. It took a little over an hour. What the implant does & it does provide sound but not perfect sound so the body has to essentially learn to re-hear," said Dr. Lustig.
The cochlear implant was donated by a private company.
Mustafa and nine other children injured in the war were brought to the U.S. by a group called No More Victims.
"I wanted to create a way American communities could pull themselves together, identify a child and provide medical assistance to the child," said Cole Miller of No More Victims.
They plan to bring more.
"I think it's a great expression of responsibility on the part of Americans for what has happened in Iraq," said Miller.
It has brought an outpouring of gratitude and emotion from the family.
"What he says is he's speechless. Words are not enough to express my feelings about this," said father Ghazwan Al-Nadawi through a translator.
Mustafa will spend the next four to six months in therapy, staying at the Ronald McDonald House in San Francisco. Now he has the chance to live a normal childhood in Iraq.