x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Girl, 11, attacked in playground 'was near to death'

Hospital tells of fight to save girl who was attacked by four boys in playground assault.

ABU DHABI // An 11-year-old girl who suffered a brain haemorrhage after being attacked in her school playground was "struggling between life and death" when she was admitted to hospital.

Lujain Hussein remains in a medically induced coma at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City after the attack last Thursday by four boys from the fourth grade at Al Maali International School.

The child is under close observation in the hospital, where a spokesman said yesterday medical records had been provided to the police.

"When Lujain first entered the hospital, she was struggling between life and death," he said. "But now she's doing better and her situation is improving. The doctors are keeping her sedated until the tubes are removed and she is ready to wake up."

Lujain's school is "in denial" over the incident, the child's mother said yesterday.

"What I want to know is why nothing was done immediately," said Maha Abdul Khair. "Where were the supervisors and school staff to stop this from happening, and to prevent my daughter from reaching this point?"

Mrs Abdul Khair said that although school staff and administrators had paid visits to her daughter, they are still "in denial about what took place".

“They’re insisting that Lujain was only hit on her stomach and not on her head,” she said. “If this is the case, how could this happen? Why is she here?”

Khadeeja Al Sayar, the school principal, said on Tuesday the attack had taken place in an isolated area of the playground.

“By the time the students had notified the instructors and supervisors, the bell rang and everyone had gone to class. The playground was empty,” she said.

“These fights happen all the time. The boys were questioned by the police. After the officers made them understand the gravity of the situation, the boys still said they only gave her a box on the stomach.”

But Mrs Abdul Khair said: “We’ve heard the four students involved keep changing their stories, so no one really knows what happened to our daughter.”

Mrs Al Sayar was not available for further comment yesterday.

Mahran Hussein, Lujain’s brother, said the girl had not woken at all yesterday. A CT scan was scheduled in the evening and the tubes draining the excess blood from her head are expected to be removed in two weeks.

“The doctors are worried that if they wake her up she’ll be in too much pain,” he said. “They tried to wake her on Tuesday, but she is still very tired and cannot speak or move, so they gave her more medication to keep her asleep.”

Mr Hussein said he was grateful to members of the community for being “very supportive”.

“Friends and family are always checking in,” he said. “Some of the school’s staff have also paid a visit, but they are still defensive about what happened.

“She is right in front of them and they still cannot see the truth. I pray that my sister wakes up in good health.”