8-year-old Qossay smiles after recovering from craniofacial surgery. (Source: KSLA News 12)
8-year-old Qossay sits between his grandmother Hajjar Abusilmi and LSU Health Dr. Jason Dashow. (Source: KSLA News 12)
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -
A Palestinian boy from the Gaza Strip received life-changing surgery in Northwest Louisiana.
The surgery repaired severe deformities in his face and skull.
"He woke up smiling, playing. He really has been a champ and not an easy surgery, but he's doing well," said Dr. Jason Dashow, a cleft and craniofacial surgery fellow at LSU Health Shreveport.
In early May, 8-year-old Qossay Sallout underwent a nearly 17-hour craniofacial surgery at Willis-Knighton South.
His younger brother received a similar procedure at the same place just a year ago.
"They had defects in the skull and the back part of the skull, as well as defects kind of ranging all the way up over the top of their skull, and wide-set eyes with defects that kind of went up through their nose, too," Dashow explained.
For an active little boy like Qossay, the deformity was life-threatening.
"This is actually Qossay's skull," Dashow said, referencing a model.
"If you put your finger in there before the surgery, he just had a big opening their straight to his brain. So that is of the most concern."
Qossay's grandmother has been with him every step of the way.
"All gratefulness to God and the doctors and the staff and everyone that helped with his surgery," Hajjar Abusilmi said. "We're very grateful to everyone that has taking care of them."
"Praise to God the surgeries were successful," Qossay shyly added.
"We've made it so that life can be a little bit easier for a kid going through adolescence when kids aren't always kind with other kids who look different," Dashow said.
"I think this will help him out. And certainly from the perspective of having coverage over his head now, help from any errant objects doing damage to him."
Abusilmi agreed. "Life will be better and his surgery has gone well and everything; his future looks bright."
Keeping hope alive for a little boy with big dreams.
"A doctor," Qossay said.
The young patient one day wants to return the favor to others.
"Even when he was younger, before surgery, he's always wanted to be a doctor," Abusilmi explained.
Qossay and his grandmother will leave Shreveport in the next few weeks and return home, where his parents and four siblings are waiting to welcome him.
Physicians involved in Qossay’s care donated their services.
Willis-Knighton Health System provided housing and covered the medical expenses, which Dashow estimated at $400,000.
LSU Health Shreveport’s craniofacial surgery team providing care for Qossay included Chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali, Dr. Jennifer Woerner, surgery fellows Drs. Jason Dashow, Chris Galea and Stavan Patel, surgery resident Dr. Spencer Armuth and Registered Nurse Diane Dunki Jacobs Nolten.
Qossay’s treatment also included the neurosurgery team with Dr. Christina Notarianni and surgery resident Dr. Menarvia Nixon, Dr. Kevin Boykin in pediatric surgery, ophthalmologist Dr. John Hinrichsen, and Dr. John Mata in pediatric urology.
Dr. Abby Carroll, of Pierremont Pediatrics, completed Qossay’s preoperative evaluation.
And pediatric dentists Drs. Christy Jen and Bryan Stewart, of Shreveport Bossier Family Dental, also evaluated him.
The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a humanitarian nonprofit committed to aiding children in the Middle East, funded both trips to the United States for the brothers with their grandmother as their accompanying guardian.