“I remember seeing my body riddled with shrapnel”

  • Iraq

In April 2017, Raneen was injured in a bomb attack in Mosul. The leg fracture she sustained has still not healed. She is currently being treated in Hamdaniya hospital, where Handicap International (HI) is providing her with physiotherapy sessions.

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Raneen Testimony
Raneen Testimony
Raneen in her hospital room in Hamdaniya.

Raneen is sitting on her hospital bed chatting with her sister as she waits for Mouna. A few minutes later, Handicap International’s physiotherapist arrives and begins a new rehabilitation session with the teenager. Raneen has been in hospital for two months, but her fracture is taking a long time to heal. The external fixations protruding from her leg give an idea of just how violent her accident was. “My whole family was sitting on the roof of our building when suddenly the bombs started falling. I remember seeing my body riddled with shrapnel and my leg covered in blood. Out of my family, I am the one who had the worst injuries.”

Raneen had to wait before she could be treated. “We couldn’t go out,” she says. “It was too dangerous. For two weeks, we were cooped up at home. Finally, when we managed to get to a health centre, the doctors did some x-rays and said my leg was broken. They operated on me two days later. We were back home within a week.”

Had she received proper treatment, Raneen’s story - and her accident – might have ended there. But the day of her operation, time was short, casualties were pouring into the health centre, and the doctors made a mistake. Raneen’s leg got worse as time went by. “Twenty days later, the army entered our district and we finally fled the city. We managed to get to a hospital where I had a second operation. Then the doctors said I needed to go to a centre for people with severe injuries for another operation. Hamdaniya is the fourth hospital I’ve stayed in since we fled Mosul,” adds the teenager, who is visibly very tired. Raneen’s big sister comforts her and tries to motivate her to do her physiotherapy exercises.

After assessing the flexibility and state of Raneen’s leg, Mouna suggests she take a few steps along the hospital corridor using a walking frame given her by Handicap International. A worried look crosses Raneen’s face - she hasn’t really walked in months. But she tries all the same and, with help from her older sister and Handicap International’s physiotherapist, manages to get off the bed. 

Within minutes, Raneen has left the room and is walking slowly down the corridor. As the other patients lift her spirits with an encouraging word or two, Raneen breaks into a smile. Soon she hopes to walk without her frame and return home after spending weeks in hospital.

Raneen walks down a hospital corridor, helped by her sister and the Handicap International team.  © E. Fourt / Handicap International

 

Published on 07/12/2017 - 04:01.

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