Injured boy Ali lands in Kuwait
By CNN's Avril Stephens
LONDON, England (CNN) -- A 12-year-old Iraqi boy who lost his arms and most of his family in a coalition bombing raid near Baghdad arrived in Kuwait early Wednesday for treatment.
Ali Ismail Abbas Hamza was taken by plane from a hospital in Baghdad to Kuwait City, where he arrived at Ibn Sina Hospital just before 3:30 a.m. (8:30 p.m. Tuesday ET).
The young boy arrived on a stretcher, covered by a blanket and wearing a green surgical cap.
Dr. Imad Al-Najada, who works at Ibn Sina Hospital, said: "From the pictures we had, he had full-thickness burn, and he needs early -- as soon as possible -- excision of this necrotic tissue and try to cover it with a skin graft."
He plans to treat Ali but until now has only seen his future patient on television. Al-Najada has already treated five other young victims of the war.
The plight of Ali, whose parents, brother and seven other family members died in the attack in the Diala Bridge district east of the capital, touched the hearts of many around the world.
Ali, who also suffered severe burns to his torso, is among a group of children flown to Kuwait by the U.S. military for vital treatment, the UK-based Limbless Association charity told CNN.
Hospitals in Iraq are in desperate need of basic medical supplies, clean water, power and medicine. Lawlessness in the streets has prevented medical supplies reaching hospitals, and many have been looted and closed.
A campaign was launched to raise funds to airlift Ali out of Iraq for specialist treatment. The Limbless Association has raised about £150,000. (Full story)
Kiera Roche, strategic development officer for the Limbless Association, said the Kuwaiti government volunteered to take Ali.
Kuwait's health ministry said Ali's burns will be treated by some of the best specialists in the region.
Doctors in Baghdad said Ali has beaten back the threat of infection but in order to survive he needed treatment at a better-equipped hospital.
Roche added: "What happens to Ali after Kuwait we do not know. If he wants to come to England for further treatment, we will do all our best. We have the money for the prosthetics. We did have an air ambulance lined up to airlift him out of Iraq, but today's development will help a lot."
Ali had appealed for help from his hospital bed.
"Can you help get my arms back? Do you think the doctors can get me another pair of hands?" Ali, who wanted to become a doctor, had asked from Baghdad's Kindi Hospital. (Full story)
"If I don't get a pair of hands, I will commit suicide," he told a Reuters reporter.
His picture appeared in many European newspapers and Web sites, and the response to his plea was strong.
If Kuwait's medical staff can save him, Ali will still have a psychological struggle to overcome. Roche says half the battle for Ali is his mental state.
"If he knows the world is on his side, it will help him come through," she added.
Sue Stokes, national coordinator of Reach, a UK family support group for children with upper body disabilities, said Ali would have to "get used to his body image," especially as the stigma of being limbless is different in various countries.
"For all the will in the world, people will think money will be the answer," Stokes said. "It may not be if the system is not there to support him.
"But with determination and the right resources he can get a lot out of life."
Florian Westphal of the International Committee of the Red Cross, told CNN: "This case is particularly moving but indicative of a general state in Baghdad.
"It is particularly tragic when it happens to such young people."
CNN Correspondents Jason Bellini in Kuwait City and Rula Amin in Baghdad, and CNN.com International's Avril Stephens, contributed to this report.