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For Yemen girl with crippling illness, half a brain is better than a full one
Three years after severe seizures were brought on by a rare neurological disease, Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, Hamed is now making a remarkable recovery — following a drastic six-hour surgery at Fortis Hospital on April 14, wherein the right side of her brain was “disconnected”.

  From war-torn Lahij in Yemen to New Delhi, 14-year-old Fatima Hamed has come a long way. But the distance is nothing compared to the medical journey she has covered — from being bedridden due to seizures every few minutes to climbing down a flight of stairs without help. Three years after severe seizures were brought on by a rare neurological disease, Rasmussen’s Encephalitis, Hamed is now making a remarkable recovery — following a drastic six-hour surgery at Fortis Hospital on April 14, wherein the right side of her brain was “disconnected”.

“The right side of her brain was impacted, so we conducted a functional Hemispherectomy, in which only some portions of the right side were removed and the rest of it was disconnected. Chances of seizures ending were 80 per cent but we didn’t think she would be able to walk. Five days after the surgery, when she walked, we were surprised,” said Dr Anurag Gupta, consultant neurosurgeon at Fortis Hospital’s Vasant Kunj, who operated on Hamed along with Dr Rana Patir, head of neurosurgery at the hospital. The surgery took place in Fortis Gurgaon. Gupta said the rare surgery has been performed only a few times at AIIMS.

A little more than a month later, Hamed and her mother Ebtsam Othman (39) sat inside a studio apartment in Saket — a wheelchair now rendered useless in a corner. Their Delhi-based relative Ahmed has been playing translator for them. “Since I couldn’t talk properly or at length due to the seizures, the first thing I did after recovering was call up my brothers in Lahij and tell them about the doctors and Delhi. I also went to Select CityWalk mall… I’m taking a sari and a suit back home,” said Hamed, showing a red and black Anarkali lying on her bed.
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