x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Lujain may never gain full vision again after attack, UAE doctors say

Lujain Hussein suffered a brain haemorrhage after she was attacked in April at Al Maali International School in Abu Dhabi.

Lujain Hussein , 11, suffered a brain haemorrhage after she was assaulted by a group of boys nine months ago. Doctors say she may never gain full vision again.Silvia Rázgová / The National
Lujain Hussein , 11, suffered a brain haemorrhage after she was assaulted by a group of boys nine months ago. Doctors say she may never gain full vision again.Silvia Rázgová / The National

DUBAI// An 11-year-old girl who was attacked in a school playground may have suffered long-term damage to her vision.

Lujain Hussein suffered a brain haemorrhage after she was assaulted by a group of boys eight months ago. She has lost peripheral vision in both eyes and doctors are not sure if it will ever return.

The youngster has also been given medication to prevent seizures.

“The doctors aren’t sure if she will ever gain full vision again,” said her mother, Maha Abdul Khair. “We can only leave it in God’s hand and pray it improves.”

Lujain was injured at her school, Al Maali International, in Abu Dhabi on April 19.

She was put in a medically induced coma for two weeks as doctors assessed the extent of her injuries.

“She has had an MRI scan and doctors said there is a chance she might be more likely to have seizures, so they have given her treatment which will help with that,” her mother said.

“She might have an operation in about a year. We’re not sure, but the doctors say it depends on how her brain functions improve over the next 12 months before they take a decision on that.”

As well as the physical injuries, Lujain’s personality has changed since the attack.

“She is very shy now,” Mrs Abdul Khair said. “She is afraid to talk to people she doesn’t know and is very quiet now. She was always a little shy but since the accident [she has] become much worse.”

Scans of Lujain’s brain discovered a pre-existing aneurysm, an enlarged artery caused by a weakened blood vessel.

“Doctors said the fight could have caused the haemorrhaging and made it worse”, Mrs Abdul Khair said.

Lujain has since changed schools and has been attending Al Rawafed Private School in Abu Dhabi since October.

“At first Lujain didn’t want to change schools because she wanted to stay with her friends,” Mrs Abdul Khair said.

“But we have a lot of support from the Abu Dhabi Education Council and they have helped us get a place at Al Rawafed.

“Even though she would be starting the school year four weeks later than everyone else, they managed to get her a place and we are very grateful.”

After the attack, Lujain spent three weeks at the paediatric ward of Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Doctors have since said she will require months of support and counselling to keep her brain active.

Her family, who have Palestinian and Iranian roots, have been living in the UAE for 36 years. They did not have medical insurance to pay for their daughter’s treatment but the issue has now been resolved.

“At the time of Lujain’s attack my husband was still trying to renew his trade visa but he has done that now and we have all been placed on medical insurance so, thankfully, the treatment is covered,” said Mrs Abdul Khair.

nhanif@thenational.ae