A terror attack victim from Britain is to undergo a rare operation to remove – via his nose – a bullet that is embedded in his head.
The operation to take place in a renowned hospital in Birmingham is possible thanks to a new tool called Cyclops, which allows surgeons to look around corners through a small endoscope inserted into the nose. It has already been used to remove tumours- but this is the first time it is being used to remove a bullet embedded in the maxillary sinus.
Pioneering Consultant ear, nose and throat and skull base surgeon Shahz Ahmed, who is leading the medical team, will carry out the operation this Sunday on Ummad Farooq, a postgraduate student at Sunderland University who was gunned down during a visit to Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi.
On 19 October, Ummad and five other members of his family were shot at close range by two men on a bike. His newly-wed brother was killed in the attack. The family was targeted because they are members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – a community whose peace mission puts them directly at loggerheads with extremists.
Ummad, a chartered accountant who is reading for an MBA, said: “The conditions in Pakistan for Ahmadiyya Muslims are deteriorating. Many Ahmadis, including my family, have been receiving threats and my father has been followed by strangers. My family wanted me to study out of the country in order to stay safe – that is why, for the past year, I have been in England for my postgraduate degree.
“I only went to Pakistan a few weeks ago for my brother’s wedding. After the wedding, we were attacked as we returned home from Friday prayers.
“My father was driving the car while I, my two uncles and my newly-wed brother’s father-in-law were in the car. My brother was riding a bike. As we were half way home, we heard a gunshot. My father saw from the side mirror that my brother was on the ground and was bleeding. He had been fatally wounded.
“As Papa stopped the car, there were two men on a bike who opened fire on us. My father got shot with five bullets that are still in his body. He is fighting for his life in intensive care in a hospital in Pakistan.
“My brother’s father-in-law Nusrat Ahmed, an American citizen and a New Yorker, got shot in his neck and is in a critical condition. He was to leave the country after the wedding.
“I got shot in my forehead and have still got that bullet in me. After firing several bullets the shooters fled from the scene. We transferred Saad Farooq (my brother) into the car and Papa drove the car to the hospital despite being shot. But my brother had died on the spot.
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community helped to get those of us who survived and could be discharged from hospital into a safe house, especially as there were still some armed men seen outside our home. Indeed, after this incident, another of my uncles went to my home mistakenly thinking that we were still at home. As soon as he rang the bell he saw a car at the corner of my street with some armed men. They got out of the car and loaded their guns – fortunately my uncle was able escape and save his life.”
A CT scan had traced the damage and debris in the tract left by the bullet. There is an entry wound at the inner aspect of his right eyebrow with the bullet passing through the bone, just missing the brain but passing instead, down next to his right eye and shattering the bone next to it, causing a blow out fracture and his double vision. The bullet then went through more sinuses and lodged in back of the main cheek sinus.
“It is amazing that I can have the bullet removed in this way, and my surgeon hopes that removing the other fragments that we can see on my scan will also reduce the chance of further infections and may help improve my double vision,” said Ummad.
Human rights organisations have highlighted how Ahmadiyya Muslims are being increasingly targeted in Pakistan by religious extremists- in 2010, more than 100 Ahmadiyya Muslims were killed and injured in a murderous Taliban-led gun and grenade attack on their mosques in Lahore. The community, whose motto is Love for All, Hatred for None, relocated its world headquarters to London after Pakistan passed a law declaring Ahmadiyya Muslims to be ‘non-Muslim’ and liable to be jailed for ‘posing as Muslims’.