Nottingham teen can walk again - 12 years after becoming human fireball in bomb blast in Iraq
A TEENAGER who was badly injured in an explosion in Iraq can walk again – thanks to Nottingham medics.
Daban Yaseen's body was so badly burnt he spent a year in intensive care in Iraq following the explosion, which happened when he was four years old.
Now, 12 years later, doctors at the Queen's Medical Centre have repaired his wounds and, for the first time since the attack, he has been able to straighten his legs.
His legs, hands and buttocks still bear the scars of that fateful day when he was playing in the garden of his then family home on the outskirts of Mosul, in northern Iraq.
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The rebel explosion caused enough damage to blow up his family home's gas system, which like all households in their town, was situated in the garden.
The explosion was so ferocious Daban was set on fire.
His mother Sameira Swilaiman, 52, also suffered burns, but they were less severe.
"I remember him screaming, crying he was very badly burned," said his mum, who came to Nottingham in 2008 after being awarded a scholarship to study molecular biology at the University of Nottingham.
The burns contracted and tore his skin, and for years he couldn't wear shoes for any length of time.
The hospital he was taken to in Iraq had limited equipment, and didn't have any clean water.
Daban needed to have regular blood transfusions, and his family were forced to go round their town asking family and friends to give blood, because there was a shortage at the hospital.
"I can remember washing Daban and crying, thinking why were we so unlucky," said Ms Swilaiman.
When the family moved to Nottingham to a house in Olton Avenue, Beeston, Daban was able to access healthcare on the NHS.
And doctors in Nottingham performed a total of seven operations on different parts of his body.
They used artificial skin made from proteins found in shark and cow skin to form a new layer of skin on the parts of his body which were particularly damaged.
Prior to the operations Daban's legs were permanently bent, leaving him reliant on crutches.
Daban, 16, a student at Central College Nottingham, the old South Nottingham College, said: "I don't remember much about the day of the explosion, apart from waking up in hospital.
"I am very grateful to the doctors here for helping me as much as they have."
Peter Brooks, a burns surgeon at the Nottingham Children's Hospital, in the QMC, who operated on Daban, said: "Hopefully I don't expect Daban to need anymore operations. There should be enough elasticity in the skin to allow him to lead as normal life as possible."
Ms Swilaiman wanted to thank her friend Marylin Wagner, who she met in Nottingham for helping her settle in to the city.
The family plan to return to Iraq in June when Ms Swilaiman completes her PhD.