In October 2003, a nine-year-old Iraqi boy named Saleh Khalaf was playing in a playground when he picked up what he thought was a ball. It was a bomb. It exploded, killing Saleh’s brother, Dia, and ripping open Saleh’s abdomen, taking out his left eye, and blowing off both his hands.
He was near death when the U.S. military turned to Children’s Hospital in Oakland. The hospital not only accepted the boy, it also found a job with the hospital’s janitorial company for his father, Raheem, so he could be near his son.
After more than 60 surgeries and 15 months, Saleh (above right) was a
walking, talking, smiling bundle of energy in December when he finally
saw his mother, Hadia (above left), his two sisters, and his baby
brother (above middle), who had stayed behind when Saleh and his father
were flown to California. "To see such a happy child reunited with his
family is very heartwarming," said Arup Roy-Burman, M.D., a pediatric
critical care physician at Children’s Hospital. "It makes us remember
why we do medicine."