“He wants to know if his legs will grow back”

  • Iraq

On the 21st of March 2017, Baker was injured in an air attack in the west of Mosul. After having both of his legs amputated, he is now recovering in a hospital on the outskirts of the city. Handicap International is providing him with physiotherapy care and psychosocial support.

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Baker, on his hospital bed, near Mosul.

Baker is lying in a hospital bed with a lost look in his eyes. He turns to his father and mutters softly: “It hurts Dad, it really hurts.” Just a few days ago, he was playing in the street with his friends in Mosul, when they were hit by a bomb. Baker was rushed to hospital where doctors amputated both of his legs. Since then, he has been in a state of shock and suffers a lot. The painkillers don’t stop him thinking about what happened. “He still hasn’t accepted the situation,” says Karam, one of Handicap International’s psychosocial workers, who visits him every day. “When I see him, he asks me if his legs are going to grow back. He also says he’s been having a lot of nightmares since his accident.”

Fatima, Handicap International’s physiotherapist, enters the boy’s hospital room and starts to do a series of rehabilitation exercises with him. “I met him just after he reached the hospital,” she explains. “Since then, I’ve visited him every day. I use our sessions to help him get used to his situation. It’s going to take him time to accept it, but I’m hopeful. Baker is still a child and children usually find it easier to adapt.” The organisation will also talk to a partner organisation about Baker, so he can be fitted with prostheses in the near future.

Fatima blows up a rubber baloon and continues the rehabilitation exercises, to give a recreationnal aspect to the session. The physiotherapist wants Baker to understand that he can still move around, laugh and play, despite his new condition. “I love playing and studying,” he says. Baker hasn’t been to school for the past two years, when the Islamic State group captured the city. “When I grow up I want to be an architect,” he says. “I want to rebuild all of the houses that have been destroyed and to help people,” he adds shyly.

At the end of the session, Baker shares his hopes with the organisation’s team. He dreams of being able to walk and stand up again one day. He wants to go back home to see his friends. But for the moment, his greatest wish is to be in less pain. Baker’s father tells his son that he’s just going to buy some food and will be back shortly. He leaves the room and sits on a bench in the garden. He doesn’t want his son to see him crying.

Fatima and Baker during the physiotherapy session. © E. Fourt / Handicap International

Published on 05/24/2017 - 09:04.

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