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June 23, 2005

Iraqi Family Struggles To Care For Family Member In 'PVS' State

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

And so begins the living story of a family in Iraq that we will be covering in a series of posts:

In Babylon, Iraq, a bomb explodes at 1:30 in the morning, the electricity goes out, and the family of a severely disabled woman diagnosed as being in a PVS state - begins using hand-held fans to keep her cool and comfortable. During the daytime, when temperatures soar to 120 degrees and higher, and when the electricity goes out as it frequently does, they take her out of their house to the garden so that she can be kept as cool as possible.

Unlike Michael Schiavo, who didn't live in a war zone under constant threat of death, and who didn't personally care for his wife day after day and night after night with bombs exploding nearby, and who fought to have his wife killed by judicial fiat instead of doing everything in his power to keep her alive and comfortable - Sabah Jasim and his children struggle under difficult and often dangerous conditions to care for Selma, his wife and the mother of his children, and to keep her alive. And unlike Michael Schiavo, they don't consider food, water, and personalized loving care, as extraordinary medical procedures.

This proud Iraqi family has to struggle every day to endure the agony of living under the threat of terrorism and the lack of proper medical equipment and drugs, while they care for Selma, pray for her recovery, and challenge death each day with their love for her.

Persecuted under the regime of Sadaam Hussein, both Selma and Sabah taught English in Iraqi schools until they were forced to hide from Sadaam and his agents. Tragically, they struggled greatly under Sadaam and survived to suffer yet again under a medical system that is barely able to care for both victims of terrorism and those needing ordinary medical and surgical care. Life today in Iraq is a hard life for those that are perfectly healthy, but for the severely disabled and those that care for them, it can be a struggle to live from one moment to the next.

So, feeling as though they had no where else to turn to, Sabah emailed BlogsForTerri asking to be put in touch with Terri Schiavo's family, her real family - the Schindlers, in order that his family be encouraged by their prayers and expression of support for what his family is enduring.

In later emails, Sabah asked that BlogsForTerri help to let others know of his family's plight, and about their need for drugs and medical equipment to care for Selma and to keep her alive. After talking with Bobby Schindler, it was agreed that Bobby would email Sabah at the time of this posting, and together, we would begin to help get Sabah's message out to the world. Sabah wants to continue caring for Selma, but he needs our help.

Sabah writes that he is one of many Iraqis that love peace, that hate the poison of terrorism, and appreciates the sacrifices of the Coalition Forces and the American people.

"We have suffered much to get our country recovered from Sadaam's horrible dictatorship and to get our country more like other countries in so many humanitarian causes, just to keep terrorism back and not die in its poison .. that is why we Iraqi people can realize our all sacrifice for better life and better world."

Perhaps with a little help from bloggers and their readers, we can help get the word out about Selma and with a little luck, find some ways to make their life a little easier.

In the extended post are images of Sabah and Selma in happier times and now, Sabah's original email to BlogsforTerri, and excerpts from a translation of Selma's medical report(full versions on file at BlogsForTerri. More information on the family's exact needs will be made available in a following post.

(below - Sabah and Selma in happier times)


Dear kind Schindler family,

Hello to you from our IRAQ , the most wounded place of paradise in the world!

First of all , we pray our tears wash softly Terri's feet.. to give her at least a little rest from what they call severe destiny!

Kindly be informed that we are an Iraqi family , and my lovely wife Selma has have been enduring the same kind of pain that your family had to endure because my wife, Selma, lives in the same state of mind as Terri.

My lovely Selma is an ex teacher of English in one of our Iraqi secondary schools, and she has been suffering same condition like with Terri for last 3 years. It happened after going through a surgical operation for removal of her gall bladder, due to a problem with the anesthesia.

Along with Selma, our whole family, her 4 sons and one little daughter together with me, her husband, have been paralized ever since that terrible day. Our wish is to pray for Terri Shiavo and to get patience and power from the prayers of her family members. We hope to receive a reply from Terri's family to assist us in enduring our suffering.

We , Selma's family, never get rest day and night. We cannot help Selma by doing anything except care for her and love her, and pray with hot tears !

Kind regards
For Selma's family
Sabah Jasim, Selma's husband
Babylon, Iraq

Excerpt from Selma's medical report(translated to English - Copy of actual reports in English and Arabic on file at BlogsForTerri)


(above - Sabah and Selma in less happy times)

24th Feb.,2005 Baghdad - IRAQ
TO Messrs: S. Maria della Misericordia Hospital - Udine - Italy/ Neurosurgery Division

Kind Attention: Mr. Bruno Zanotti & Miss Angela Verlicchi

Dear Sirs,

Kindly be informed that the A/M patient had a surgical operation (gall bladder removal), after which she sustained a Coma state since 26th June, 2002.

Now she is in a vegetative state of mind. Ever since she kept on conservative treatment,; including Nasogastric feeding, indwelling urinary catheter, Baclofen, Clonazepam (Revotril) 2mg, Tegretol 2% syrup and antibiotic for interrupted periods. Furthermore, she suffers of spasm in her legs & hands, so we advised Sirdalud tab. 1mg.

Final diagnosis: persistent vegetative state probably due to Hypoxic intraoperative brain damage.
Up to date: The Glasgow Coma Scale is equal to (9) scores:

1-Eye response: (4) she opens her eyes spontaneously.
2-Motor responses: (3) she flexes her limbs on painful stimulation.
3-Speech response: (2) incomprehensive speech.

Otherwise, her general condition is good.

Her vital signs are normal, no bed sores and no other systemic problems.

For your kind advices regarding her coma state.

Kind Regards,

Dr. Kareem M. AL-TAMIMI

Cross posted at BlogsForTerri

Posted by Hyscience at June 23, 2005 7:06 PM

Don't know how to use trackback but referred to this story on Blogs Page of ADMC. We constantly admire the way you use the power of the blogosphere to accomplish worthy objectives. It is an inspiration and guide to all of us. God bless you.

Posted by: American Daughter at June 23, 2005 8:42 PM

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