“I’m determined to regain my former life”

  • Iraq

Last April, Hameed was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED) and his leg had to be amputated. For the last few weeks, he has been recovering from his injuries in Qayyarah hospital. Since his amputation, one of Handicap International’s physiotherapists has been helping him adapt to his new condition.  


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Hameed in the HI room at Qayyarah hospital.

It’s a big day for Hameed. After nearly a month in Qayyarah hospital, he’s getting ready to go home to his family. Before he leaves, he’s going for another rehabilitation session in a room set up by Handicap International. Since his operation, one of the organisation’s physiotherapists, Khaled, has been helping Hameed recover from his injuries. “I find his advice and the physiotherapy sessions really useful,” says Hameed,  enthusiastically. “Since he’s leaving hospital today, I’m going to give him a toilet chair - it’ll make life easier for him,” says Khaled. “And the crutches I gave him a few days ago will help him move around before he’s fitted with a prosthesis.”

Hameed sits on the bed while Khaled checks the bandages around the stump of his amputated leg. “I never in my life imagined I’d lose my leg,” says Hameed. “I am a shepherd. The area where I live is littered with explosive remnants of war and I knew that, but the whole country’s contaminated and there was no way I could stop working... I was putting my herd out to graze one day, when I came across a petrol can on the road. I just wanted to push it to the roadside but it exploded the moment I touched it. I fell to the ground and saw my leg had been cut in two. I grabbed my phone and called people from my village. They came straightaway in a car and took me to hospital.”

Hameed was given surgery on arrival at Qayyarah. “The doctors amputated my leg and thumb,” he explains. Two days after his operation, Khaled visited Hameed in his hospital bed. “He was in really bad shape the day I met him,” Khaled recalls. “But I did some exercises with him straightaway to strengthen and stretch his muscles and to motivate him again. I showed him how to tie his bandages too. After a few days, I noticed improvements in his outlook and physical condition.”

Although Hameed is leaving hospital today, before he goes, Khaled is keen to stress the importance of his follow-up care. “He needs to come back for regular check-ups to make sure his stump is healing properly. It’s vital if he’s going to be fitted with a prosthesis one day. He’s young, active and sporty, so I’m not too worried about him, but I want to make sure he carries on doing his physiotherapy exercises. If he follows my advice, he may even be able to walk without crutches,” he adds.

Hameed smiles: he looks keen and ready to do what it takes to walk again one day. “I’m determined to work again and to regain my former life,” he says. “And I’ll be more careful about the dangers around my village in the future…”

Hameed and Khaled in the room set up by Handicap International at Qayyarah hospital.

© E. Fourt / Handicap International

Published on 05/18/2017 - 09:16.

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