Last Remaining Victim of Deadly 2007 East Harlem Explosion Released from St. Mary’s Hospital for Children

Six-Year-Old Girl’s Miraclous Recovery After 10-Months Brings Joy to Family that Has Suffered Great Loss

Bayside, NY August 18, 2008 – On Monday, August 18th, Duaa Al Ghaithi, the 6-year-old girl who was badly injured in last October’s deadly East Harlem gas explosion, was released from St. Mary’s Hospital for Children. During the celebratory send off, Duaa’s family, together with her doctors and therapists from St. Mary’s, spoke about the youngster’s miraculous recovery and how her strong will to never give up was remarkable. According to therapists, Duaa worked hard during her time at St. Mary’s and was eager to get better so she could get back to her family.

Duaa spent 6 months at St. Mary’s undergoing intensive therapy and rehabilitation after the October 6th, 2007 gas explosion that ripped through the walls of an apartment building on 119th Street in Harlem claiming the life of Duaa’s 29-year-old mother and injuring her three sisters who all sustained serious burns over 60% to 90% of their bodies. Duaa’s recovery was the longest, as she sustained burns over 60% of her body, including face, trunk and all four extremities. She suffered severe respiratory issues that required the placement of a tracheotomy tube to allow her to breath and a feeding tube through her nose to meet her nutritional needs.

When Duaa first arrived at St. Mary’s, she was unable to speak, eat or swallow, unable to roll from one side of the bed to the other, unable to sit at the edge of bed, unable to walk, and unable to play. Duaa worked extremely hard to regain all that she lost. She relearned how to talk, eat, walk, and most importantly, play. Just three months after coming to St. Mary’s, Duaa amazed the staff by winning a Gold Medal for the soft discus field event at the Empire State Games for the Physically Challenged.

Duaa returned home to be reunited with her three sisters, who all receive ongoing home care services through St. Mary’s. .

This is only one example of the miracles St. Mary’s provides to over 4,000 families each day through its inpatient, home care, and community programs. As a recognized leader in pediatric rehabilitation, St. Mary’s integrated team of professionals embrace their commitment to improving the health and quality of life for New York’s most critically ill and injured children.