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British Doctors Say Pakistani Teen Improving

  • RFE/RL

This handout picture received from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital/University Hospitals in Birmingham on October 19 shows Malala Yousafzai lying in her bed after receiving treatment at the hospital.

This handout picture received from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital/University Hospitals in Birmingham on October 19 shows Malala Yousafzai lying in her bed after receiving treatment at the hospital.

British doctors treating Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai said she has been able to stand with help for the first time.

Dave Rosser, the medical director at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, said Malala is unable to talk because a breathing tube has been inserted into her windpipe but that she can communicate by writing.

Rosser said Malala "is doing very well," although she is still not out of danger.

Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai

"She has a tracheostomy tube in because her airway was swollen by the passing of the bullet," Rosser said. "So in order to protect her airway, she had a tracheostomy tube in, so she is not able to talk, although we have no reason to believe that she wouldn't be able to talk once this tube is out, which it may be in the next few days."

Rosser said Malala appeared to have memory recall despite her brain injuries.

Malala, 14, who promotes girls' rights to education in her native Swat Valley, was shot in the head last week by the Pakistani Taliban.

The teenager was attacked on her way from school in her hometown of Mingora.

Malala was flown to Britain on October 15 for specialized medical treatment.

Rosser said the hospital in Birmingham has extensive experience handling British soldiers injured in battle and advanced medical equipment.

Rosser has earlier said that Malala's treatment and rehabilitation could take months.

Malala came to prominence with a blog written for the BBC highlighting atrocities under the Pakistani Taliban, who had the northwestern Swat Valley under de facto control until an army offensive in 2009.

Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik has said a $1 million reward is being offered for Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Taliban spokesman who said the Islamic movement was responsible for shooting Malala and who threatened further attacks against her.


With reporting by AFP, dpa, and Reuters
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