Thursday, September 2, 2004

7-year-old Iraqi patient
out of Children's Hospital



By Tim Bonfield
Enquirer staff writer

Fatma
Host family member Marian Tarvin, of Anderson Twp, comforts Fatma Saad Abdulaziz on her last day at Children's Hospital Wednesday afternoon.
(Steven M. Herppich/The Enquirer)
CORRYVILLE - A 7-year-old girl from Iraq who had open-heart surgery last week left Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center Wednesday with two wagons in tow - one filled with belongings, the other with boxes of medicine.

Fatma Saad Abdulaziz is expected to spend at least five more weeks living with a family in Anderson Township as she receives antibiotic treatment for a lingering cardiac infection.

The slender girl with short, curly black hair clung to a yellow stuffed duck and to her host parents as she braved three television cameras, a newspaper photographer, reporters and a collection of hospital staff during her first official press conference. Fatma, who has learned only a few words of English, smiled several times but mostly appeared overwhelmed by all the attention.

"She's feeling a little homesick," said her host mother, Marian Tarvin. "She's been gone from her home (a village outside Baghdad) for 61/2 weeks."

Medically, she's "doing great," said Dr. Pirooz Eghtesady, a cardiac surgeon who assisted in the operation performed last week.

Fatma needed surgery to repair a congenital hole in her heart and to begin treatment of a serious heart infection.

She came to the United States after her father brought her to a U.S. military base outside Baghdad, where an Army physician's assistant, 2nd Lt. Todd Wilson, worked with the Shevet Achim charity organization to arrange her travel and treatment.

Fatma is traveling with an aunt and a cardiologist from Iraq but hasn't been able to talk directly with her family since coming to the United States. She has learned some English.

Her first two words were "no pain," which she told a doctor this week while he was examining her abdomen.

"She also tells me she loves me, and I tell her that I love her," Dick Tarvin said.

In the next few weeks, plans call for taking Fatma to see the Labor Day fireworks, the zoo and the aquarium.

"The only thing she's seen of the United States is the inside of a hospital," Tarvin said.

E-mail tbonfield@enquirer.com



ELECTION 2004
Cheney goes on offensive
Senator, wife heap praise on Bush
GOP speeches elicit strong responses
Young voters get own event
Bush enlists aid of famous Buckeyes
Protest arrests set record
Notes from New York
Remarks by Rob Portman
Remarks by Elaine Chao
Remarks by Mitch McConnell

TOP LOCAL HEADLINES
Ex-husband: Allen persisted
Attorney general to investigate claims
Smitherman: Tax stock options
Ky. 17 plan predicts growth
Airport's noise will dip, then escalate, officials say

KENTUCKY HEADLINES
Kids survive wreck, but parents killed
Question on roots gets Davis riled up
Gateway wins $1.7M U.S. education grant
Kentucky obituaries
Shopping center advances
News briefs

EDUCATION
Persistent candidate on his way to the top
Springboro teacher resigns
Fairfield police reduce traffic control staffing
United Way hires UC to help analyze community's needs

NEIGHBORS
Crash left him changed
Township 'biggie-sizes' lots
Clermont recycling expands, improves
Great Outdoor Weekend mimics 'Sampler' success
Neighbors briefs

COLUMNS
Bronson: Springboro feels snubbed by museum
Good Things Happening: Sycamore grad still seeking marrow match

LIVES REMEMBERED
Hannah H. Hagin put family foremost

NEWS FROM THE REGION
Homecoming high art for Guard and families
Soldier from local unit charged in Afghan deaths
7-year-old Iraqi patient out of Children's Hospital
Kings to honor gold-medal grad
City property tax rollback on ballot
Foundation to help soldiers
Attorneys for accused shooter face legal tangle
Worker training seems to help
Woman charged in fatal stabbing
Loveland derailment cleared
Public safety briefs