Taliban victim Malala 'beat the odds to live' – and now she’s standing

 

Doctors treating the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen have unveiled how close she came to dying, detailing how the bullet that struck her failed to penetrate her skull.

As pictures of a heavily bandaged but fully conscious Malala Yousafzai lying in a Birmingham hospital bed were beamed around the world today, doctors revealed the incredible odds that the 15-year-old managed to overcome since she was shot 10 days ago.

Dr Dave Rosser, medical director at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said: "The bullet grazed the edge of her brain, certainly if you're talking a couple of inches more central, then it's almost certainly an unsurvivable injury."

Those treating the teenager said that despite being struck at point blank range, the bullet followed an astonishingly lucky trajectory, striking her left brow and travelling under her skin into her neck.

The shockwave from the bullet caused small pieces of her skull to break off into her brain but she otherwise managed to avoid a potentially fatal cerebral injury.

The shooting of Yousafzai, who publicly campaigned for the right for women to go to school, caused international headlines and widespread revulsion in Pakistan against the brutality of its home grown Taliban movements.

A local Taliban group in the Swat valley which operates out of neighbouring Afghanistan claimed to have organised the hit but, as criticism of their actions mounted in Pakistan, al-Qa'ida's media wing, a prominent Uzbek militant group and Pakistan's largest Taliban network Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan also issued justifications for her shooting.

Militants view the young girl with contempt because she has publicly encouraged women to be educated, something the more socially conservative elements of the Taliban view as "western thinking" and theologically unacceptable.

After surviving the attack she was initially treated in Pakistan by doctors who removed the bullet from her neck. But on Monday she was flown to Britain to receive specialist medical attention from doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham who have detailed experience in dealing with gunshot wound victims.

Doctors treating the young shooting victim announced yesterday that Malala had been brought out of a medically induced coma and had been able to stand and write. But they warned she was still at risk and is currently battling an infection.

"She's not out of the woods yet," said Dr Dave Rosser. "Having said that, she's doing very well. In fact, she was standing with some help for the first time this morning when I went to see her."

The doctor confirmed that she was currently unable to speak because doctors had to perform a tracheotomy to ensure that she could breathe. But she has been able to communicate with staff through writing.

"We have no reason to believe that she would not be able to talk once this tube is out, maybe in the next few days," he said.

Asked whether she faced any long term physical impact from the attack he replied that scans have revealed some physical damage to her brain, but "at this stage we're not seeing any deficit in terms of function."

He added: "She seems able to understand. She's got motor control, she's able to write. Whether there's any subtle intellectual or memory deficits down the line is too early to say. It is possible she will make a smooth recovery, but it is impossible to tell I'm afraid."

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam