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Doctors In Los Angeles Lead Humanitarian Effort To Help Badly-Burned 6-Year-Old Malaysian Girl

WEST HILLS ( —   The West Hills Hospital got a special delivery Saturday -- a 6-year-old girl from the island of Halmahera, Indonesia.

"We're happy you are here," she was greeted by the staff.

Her nurse translated to her father. But it was a sentiment he shared.

To see Sheila Hamad wrapped up in a blanket, it all seemed pretty scary. But the alternative was unthinkable.

"It's amazing that whatever they did she survived this long," said Dr. Matt Young, a pediatrician at West Hills.

Nine weeks ago, Sheila got hold of some matches and accidentally set her shirt on fire. She suffered 3rd degree burns to a third or her body.

"Here in America we have access to amazing burn care," said Carol Horritz of the Children's Burn Foundation.

The hospital Sheila was admitted to in Indonesia called the Children's Burn Foundation, who, in turn contacted West Hills Hospital and the Grossman Burn Center.

Sheila has a tough road ahead.

"She is very frail. she is 6-years-old old and weighs 36 pounds," said Dr. Peter Grossman.

Despite weeks of red tape, three flights and 27 hours of travel, Sheila made it to West Hills. But now doctors say comes the hard part.

"We have to get rid of the surface infection that exists right now," Dr. Grossman said, "we're gonna go to the operating room in the next two or three days put her to sleep and remove unhealthy tissue."

The she will need several skin grafts.

"We have a lot of work cut out for us right now and there is no guarantee she will be able to survive. We're really behind the 8-ball," Dr. Grossman explained. "We know she is going to have functional and cosmetic impairment."

The fact that Sheila has made it this far, literally, gives her a great shot.

"This is beyond cosmetic -- this is about saving her life," Horritz said.

The Children's Burn Foundation is currently treating about 2,500 children all over the world. Although Sheila's visa is only good for 60 days they plan to cover her treatment until she is 18.

Her recovery is a gift, but for the doctors donating their time, it's a gift for them, too.

"If we can help even one child, we know we've had some significance in this world," Dr. Grossman said.


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