Ft. Wayne, Indiana burn center treats Afghan child

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Doctors at the regional burn center at St. Joseph Hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana are treating a patient flown in from war-torn Afghanistan.

U.S. Army's 113th Battalion, which is made up of Indiana National Guardsman, discovered five-year-old Zia after a propane explosion in suburban Kabul] earlier this year destroyed homes and killed six of the boy's family members.

The blast left Zia with third degree burns on his arms, torso and legs. Guardsmen, familiar with the Fort Wayne burn center, worked with non-profit group, Northeast Indiana Burn Council to raised $18,500 to fly Zia, accompanied by his father Abdul Qahir, to Fort Wayne for treatment.

Upon arrival, he was rushed to the St. Joseph burn unit, where after a few days of recovery from travel, underwent his first surgery June 23. The second and final surgery was postponed nine days from an original date of July 2 because the boy developed an infection in one of his wounds, which is common for burn patients.

The second surgery grafted skin onto burn wounds on Zia's arm, chest and the second toe on his right foot. Tuesday, doctors said Zia was recovering and appeared to be in good spirits. In preparation for their planned return trip to Afghanistan in September, doctors are teaching Zia's father physical therapy techniques needed for further recovery. "Without good therapy, he could be right back where we started," Dr. John Mancoll, the lead surgeon on the case, said in an interview with the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette newspaper.