Pakistani girl says ‘thanks’ after second facial surgery

Staff writer, with CNA

Fri, Nov 16, 2012 - Page 3

A Pakistani girl who was born with severe facial deformities expressed her gratitude to Taiwanese doctors in Taipei yesterday, following a recent second operation that gave her a new face.

Six-year-old Bibi Laiba, who was born with a cleft palate that left her with a 4cm opening in the top of her mouth and a displaced right eye, sang a song of thanks at a press conference at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital’s Linkou branch for the medical care she received.

“Thank you. Thanks to all Taiwanese people,” Laiba said, who was accompanied by her parents.

During the second surgery performed in September, doctors operated on her nose and lips and further rearranged her facial features into normal positions, said Lo Lun-jou (羅綸洲), deputy director of the hospital’s Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Philip Chen, director of the hospital’s Craniofacial Center, headed the medical team that treated Laiba.

The girl is expected to return home as soon as she has fully recovered from the operation, Lo said. Before her first surgery last year, Laiba’s eyes and nose were seriously displaced, which led to difficulty in speaking and eating, Laiba’s father said.

Therefore, she disliked being around strangers because she was unable to speak clearly, he said. However, he added, the girl became a cheerful child after the first surgery.

The help from Taiwan is something that they will always feel very grateful for in their lives, and the kindness of the Taiwanese people will always remain in their hearts, Laiba’s mother said.

The non-profit Noordhoff Craniofacial Foundation helped the family with flights to Taiwan.

It also announced its voluntary medical service group, co-established with the hospital, will continue to cooperate with several hospitals in Vietnam to treat more patients with facial deformities.