Kochi Doctors Restore Eyesight To 21-Year-Old Blast Victim From War-Torn Yemen

“It is beautiful to see again. It is a rebirth for me. I had given up all hopes. Indian doctors gave me a fresh lease of life."

For 21-year-old Islam Hussein, a resident of the ancient Yemeni city of Taiz, life took a devastating turn in September 2017 when he lost both his hands and eyesight.

In the midst of a bloody civil war in Yemen, Islam was walking down the street from his home, when he accidentally stepped on a mine.

The explosion left his face severely disfigured, shattered his limbs, and destroyed his eyesight. When he was moved to a hospital in neighbouring Egypt, doctors were forced to amputate both his arms below the elbow to prevent the spread of infection. They had also recommended that both his legs be amputated, but Islam’s father, a school teacher, refused to give his permission.

Incapable of treating him further, doctors at the Egyptian hospital advised his parents to seek treatment in India. The parents first went to Jaipur where he underwent plastic surgery on his foot. Following treatment in Jaipur, Islam’s parents took him to the Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Kochi, Kerala, in December 2017 where doctors gave Islam his sight back in one eye.

A team of ophthalmologists at AIMS led by a certain Dr Anil Radhakrishnan conducted an eight-hour corneal transplant surgery on Islam’s left eye.

Islam Hussein with his mother. (Source: Facebook)
Islam Hussein with his mother. (Source: Facebook)

“Islam’s right eye was beyond any recovery as the structure behind the lens was badly damaged, so we focused on the left eye. We reconstructed the shattered eye structures, conducted corneal transplant and reconstructed the eye again,” Dr Radhakrishnan told the Hindustan Times.

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However, doctors weren’t sure whether the procedure would work.

Fortunately, the operation was a grand success, and Islam’s happiness knew no bounds when he opened his eyes and saw his mother standing before him. Thanking and embracing the doctors, Islam maintains that he has found hope in his life once again. “It is beautiful to see again. It is a rebirth for me. I had given up all hopes. Indian doctors gave me a fresh lease of life,” he said.

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Before Islam lost his eyesight, he wanted to become an engineer. However, the medical miracle performed upon him has changed his mind. “Now, I want to be a doctor. I want to treat people who have lost all hope,” he told the publication. He is now looking forward to a hand transplant, which he believes, will allow him to lead a normal life.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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