Originally created 04/08/06

Iraqi child still needs treatment in Atlanta



ATLANTA - Baby Noor's father and grandmother have returned to their native Iraq, but the infant is expected to remain in Atlanta for four to six more weeks.

Noor is the Iraqi infant with severe birth defects who was brought to an Atlanta hospital at the urging of U.S. troops.

The child will remain with the host family she and her relatives have been staying with, said a spokeswoman for Childspring International, the Atlanta organization that helped arrange for Noor's medical care.

After she has been cleared by her medical team, Noor will return home to her family, said the spokeswoman, Helen Shepard.

Her father and grandmother originally had expected to stay in the United States three months and had plane tickets for a late March return to Middle East. When that time expired last week, they flew back, Ms. Shepard said.

U.S. troops found Noor during a raid on a home in Iraq in December and noticed paralysis and a growth on her back. They arranged medical care in the United States for her condition, spina bifida, in which the backbone and spinal cord do not close after birth.

She had surgery at the Atlanta hospital Jan. 9 to reposition her spinal cord and has had other minor procedures to remove fluid buildup in her back and to correct a foot deformity.

Doctors say Noor, now 6 months old, is likely to remain paraplegic but otherwise healthy. She has another medical appointment next week.

Childspring is arranging follow-up care for the infant in Iraq.