x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Schoolyard assault girl had brain condition

Lujain Hussein had an underlying brain condition that may have been triggered by the playground beating she received from four boys.

Lujain Hussein, an 11-year-old girl who was severely assaulted at a private school in Abu Dhabi.
Lujain Hussein, an 11-year-old girl who was severely assaulted at a private school in Abu Dhabi.

ABU DHABI // The schoolgirl victim of a playground attack that led to a brain haemorrhage had a brain lesion before the assault, her doctor said yesterday.

Lujain Hussein, 11, who was attacked by four boys at school, had a condition called arteriovenous malformation (AVM), said Dr Hasnain Haider-Shah, a consultant physician of interventional radiology at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Dr Haider-Shah said Lujain also had a pre-existing aneurysm, an enlarged artery caused by a weakened blood vessel.

AVM, in which blood from the arteries bypasses the brain tissue and goes straight to the veins, is congenital.

"This was revealed through a CT scan we conducted when she was admitted to the hospital," he said.

"The slightest amount of trauma could have caused bleeding, and the degree of injury on the soft tissue indicates the attack may not have caused this much bleeding on its own, but acted as a trigger."

Lujain's brother Mahran, 22, said the discovery of his sister's conditions should not explain away what happened in the playground at Al Maali International School on Thursday last week.

"We were never told about this AVM when Lujain was born," Mr Hussein said. "She's been living healthy her entire life. And we asked the doctor repeatedly: would have this happened if Lujain was not attacked? And the answer was always no."

A team from the Abu Dhabi Education Council, including the director general Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, visited Lujain yesterday as part of the council's investigation.



"They told us they would continue looking into the matter once my sister woke up and could speak," Mr Hussein said. "The first and most important thing is her health."

He said that despite the discovery of Lujain's conditions, the tragedy should have been avoided.

"Had the supervisors stepped in at the right time, this would have been avoided," Mr Hussein said. "She's been fine all along and could have been perfectly OK at this very moment. This did not have to happen."

The American Stroke Association says most patients with AVM have an intracranial haemorrhage at some point in their lives.

The chance of an AVM haemorrhage is between 1 and 3 per cent each year. Over 15 years, the total chance of an AVM bleeding into the brain, causing brain damage and stroke, is 25 per cent.

Dr Haider-Shah said the aneurysm made Lujain a candidate for endovascular catheterisation, a procedure where glue is injected into the brain to block off the aneurysm, rather than surgery.

"With an aneurysm the risk of death with surgery is high, and this is why we chose to do catheterisation," he said.