The little girl known as the “blind angel” of Iraq and brought to Britain for medical treatment funded by Sunday Times readers, has up to 80 pieces of shrapnel in her face and head, doctors discovered last week.
One said he was astonished Shams Kareem, 3, was alive, given the injuries she suffered in a bomb attack in Baghdad in 2006. Her father Hisham found her lying face down on burning asphalt, blinded, disfigured and covered in blood.
Scans and x-rays conducted shortly after her arrival in London revealed the extent of the shrapnel left in her body, including two large fragments behind her right eye. Several others have pierced her eye sockets and penetrated her brain.
Yet Shams - her name means “sun” in Arabic - appears to be a bright girl despite her injuries.
“It is a miracle this child is still alive, given the shrapnel that hit her,” said Yassir Abou-Rayyah, a consultant at Great Ormond Street hospital for children last week.
“In the face, from forehead to mouth, 70 to 80 small foreign bodies, small pieces of shrapnel, are scattered. Objects penetrated the bony cavity of the eye and past the eye into the brain," he said. “But her brain substance is healthy, and she is a very remarkable, intelligent little girl.”