Dying girl in Baghdad hopes for a miracle
December 24, 1997
Web posted at: 9:52 p.m. EST (0252 GMT)
From Correspondent Peter Arnett
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Three years ago, Amel Thir Sa'eed was much like any other two-year-old -- cute, alert and curious.
But now, a genetic disorder which causes a protein deficiency has ravaged her tiny body. Her stomach and legs are grotesquely swollen, while her face appears emaciated. Unable to walk, she is confined to her stroller.
When she looks at other children now, she looks at their normal-sized feet and the ease with which they play. And she beings to cry.
Without specialized help, Sa'eed will die. The same genetic disorder affecting her now has already killed two of her siblings.
The problem for her family is that the specialized medical help she needs is simply not available in Iraq, where the aftermath of the Persian Gulf war has left the medical system in disarray. And the Sa'eed family, which lives in a modest Baghdad neighborhood, has already sold most everything it has -- including their clothes -- to pay for Amel's treatment.
Doctors in Britain say they might be able to save the little girl, if she is brought out of Iraq to London for treatment. But the cost of sending the girl and her mother to Britain would be $10,000 -- money the family simply does not have.
Desperate, her family wrote CNN a letter, outlining her plight. Bringing her story to you is our response.
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