A 15-year-old schoolgirl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan has been able to stand up and communicate freely with medical staff, the hospital treating her said today.
Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital said the bullet which struck Malala Yousafzai just above her left eye had grazed the edge of her brain.
Speaking outside the hospital, its medical director, Dr Dave Rosser, told reporters: “It’s clear that Malala is not out of the woods yet.
“Having said that, she is doing very well. In fact she was standing with some help for the first time this morning when I went in to see her.”
Dr Rosser, medical director of the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said Malala was happy for him to share details of her clinical care and wished to thank people around the world for their support.
In his latest briefing on the schoolgirl’s condition, he said she had the potential to make “pretty much a full recovery” but may not undergo reconstructive surgery for at least two weeks.
“Malala is still showing some signs of infection which is probably related to the bullet track, which is our key source of concern,” he said.
Although Malala is currently unable to talk due to a tracheostomy tube, Dr Rosser added: “She is communicating very freely, she is writing.”
Giving details of the bullet wound – which came within inches of causing death – Dr Rosser said: “Malala was struck just above the back of the left eye.
“The bullet went down through the side of her jaw, damaging the skull and the jaw joint on the left hand side... went through the neck and lodged in the tissues above the shoulder blade.
“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.”
Dr Rosser added: “Malala is keen that I thank people for their support and their interest because she is obviously aware of the amount of interest and support this has generated around the world.”
The teenager was attacked after promoting the education of girls and criticising Taliban militants.