By Taniya Dutta
A Pakistani teen has been miraculously living with a bullet stuck in his brain after he was shot on his way home from school.
Imran Faisal, 16, has been living with a bullet lodged in his right temporal lobe of brain for last two years after medics told his horrified parents that an operation to remove it was too risky.
The teen, from Karachi is a victim of aerial firing, a popular way of celebrating occasions such as weddings, birthdays and Independence Day, that leaves hundreds injured every year in the south asian country.
Imran’s brain was so severely damaged that doctors could not see it clearly in the CT scan. He was placed into a coma for two months after the accident and remained bedridden for a year.
Doctors told his parents Imran had only 1% chance of surviving and even if he survives, he might suffer a memory loss, speech issues and problems living as a normal child.
But because of his willpower and zeal for life, Imran has not only defied the odds to survive, he has also learnt to speak, read and walk again-with the help of his nurse.
Mother Ayesha Faisal Siddique, 38, said: “It is a miracle for us. After doctors refused to operate on him to remove the bullet, we had no hopes to see him conscious again.
“He was in coma for two months after the accident. The doctors told us the bullet is lodged in such a way that a surgery is nearly impossible and could result in loss of his life.
“But they explained to us that whatever damage the bullet had to do to his brain, it had. If there is no further infection, then he can survive and may also learn to speak and walk again with the help of speech and physiotherapy.”
On 10th February, 2016, Imran, had just returned from classes and was meeting a friend near his apartment’s gate to discuss class tests when around 7:00 pm, people standing around saw him suddenly collapse.
As they approached the young boy they found blood oozing out from his head. He was immediately taken to a nearby hospital where doctors referred to him to a bigger hospital without informing the parents about the bullet injury.
Ayesha said: “We rushed him to Liaqat National Hospital where doctors found a bullet stuck in a part of his brain. We were shocked to hear that.
“We had no enemies, there was no sound of the firing in the locality either. Why would anyone fire at our child?
“Then doctors conducted CT scans and other tests and told us to be prepared for anything. Imran was put on a ventilator. For eight days he was on ventilator. Our hopes were thinning.
“We were devastated to see our son lying unconscious in bed.
“Doctors told us to try to talk to him, make him aware of our presence.
“For two months, I screamed at him, called his name hundred times a day, cried and pleaded to him to open his eyes. But there was nothing. No movement.
“We took him back home as he was in the risk of catching infection in the hospital. He was still unconsciousness when we brought him home.
“It was after a month that he opened his eyes. Luckily, there was no impact on his memory except that he could not remember the accident.
“He couldn’t speak then but was trying hard to call me. My heart was tearing out to hear him calling me mom, it was a very painful yet happy moment for me,” said the mother, who also has three younger sons.
Ayesha and her husband Faisal Ahmed Siddique, 42, a supervisor with a petroleum distribution company, spent more than £ 30,000 in his initial treatment.
“We do not know how we could arrange that huge amount. The money just flowed in from all the corners.
“Neighbours, relatives, colleagues, friends, everyone contributed for his treatment. We were not even in our senses to remember who all these people were,” said Faisal, who makes £380 a month.
Imran is looked after by a male nurse who cleanses him, feeds him and helps him with daily exercises. It is because of regular sessions of physiotherapy and speech practice that Ayesha believes he is slowly improving.
“He could not even move a finger on his own a year ago but Imran can now write, eat and even climb up the stairs up to the fifth floor of our house.
“But we do not know how long will it take for him to recover fully. Doctors say there is no time frame for that. It is exhausting but we have hopes that one day he will get back to normal life.
“He was a studious child and would always read books. His only hobby was to read comic books. Now he can read but complaints of mild headache. Similarly, he speaks but it is not completely clear yet.
“He wishes to go back to school and continue his studies.
“He recently took examswith the help of a writer. This has certainly boosted his morale. But it is definitely not enough for him.
“He has no friends as he cannot play or go out. He spends his day reading books or playing with his youngest brother Ayan who is only six months old.
“There are times when he loses confidence and cries but it is mostly him and his zeal that within two years of an almost fatal accident, he is back to recovery.
“Our only ambition now is to keep working on him and see him getting back on his feet, now matter how long that will take,” said Ayesha.