Malala Yousafzai was on Friday able to stand for the first time since she was shot by a Taliban gunman 10 days ago and was “communicating very freely”, said the British doctor treating her at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. At the same time, he warned that she was still “not out of the woods”.
Praising the teenaged Pakistani schoolgirl for her courage, Dr. David Prosser said she was doing “very well” despite damage to the skull and the “edge of the brain”.
“Malala is now well enough... she is happy, in fact, keen for us to share quite a lot of clinical detail with you. She is also keen that I thank people for their support and their interest because she’s obviously aware of the amount of interest this is generating around the world,” he said.
She was still not able to talk because she had a tracheotomy tube inserted to protect her airway, which was swollen after her gunshot injury.
But Dr. Prosser was confident that Ms. Yousafzai would be able to do so once the tube was removed. The hospital was trying to arrange for her to listen to her father on the phone.
“She is not able to talk, although we have no good reason to think that she wouldn’t be able to talk once this tube is out, which may be in the next few days”, he said.
Dr. Prosser said that one of the first things she wanted to know on regaining consciousness was what country she was in.
“There is every sign that she understands why she’s here”, he said.
He did not rule out long-term damage saying it was too early to say whether there would be “any subtle intellectual or memory deficits down the line”.
“It certainly would be over-optimistic to say there won’t be any further problems, but it is possible she will make a smooth recovery”, he said adding: “She is still showing some signs of infection, which is probably related to the bullet track. [There is] some infection in the bullet track, which is our key source of concern”.
The hospital has been inundated with messages wishing Ms. Yousafzai quick recovery.