ad info




CNN.com
 MAIN PAGE
 WORLD
 ASIANOW
 U.S.
 LOCAL
 POLITICS
 WEATHER
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 TECHNOLOGY
 NATURE
 ENTERTAINMENT
 BOOKS
 TRAVEL
 FOOD
 HEALTH
 STYLE
 IN-DEPTH

 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 CNN programs
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

  CNN WEB SITES:
CNN Websites
 TIME INC. SITES:
 MORE SERVICES:
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines
 pointcast
 pagenet

 DISCUSSION:
 message boards
 chat
 feedback

 SITE GUIDES:
 help
 contents
 search

 FASTER ACCESS:
 europe
 japan

 WEB SERVICES:
US

Bomb left Kosovo siblings with more than physical injuries

besart
Besart was bothered Thursday by bright lights and needles -- limiting what doctors could determine about his injuries

RELATED VIDEO
CNN's Jennifer Auther reports on the arrival and initial treatment in California of two Kosovo bombing victims.
Windows Media 28K 80K
 MESSAGE BOARD:
Rebuilding Kosovo
 IN-DEPTH SPECIAL:
Focus on Kosovo
 

Both in California for medical treatment

July 2, 1999
Web posted at: 10:41 a.m. EDT (1441 GMT)


In this story:

'So traumatized'

'I'm going to ask God to help me'

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



From Correspondent Jennifer Auther

SANTA BARBARA, California (CNN) -- His nearly blown-off face hidden under bandages, a 12-year-old Kosovo boy injured by a NATO bomb is in California for medical treatment, but Besart Ahmetaj's trauma seems as much psychological as it is physical.

"No needles," and "Get the light out of my face," the upset boy tells doctors at St. Francis Medical Center in Santa Barbara, squirming under the sheets of a hospital bed.

Even after more than 24 hours of travel from his home, Besart -- his facial wounds infected -- fought sedatives enough to limit an initial physical exam after his arrival Thursday in the United States.

Dr. John Padilla, leading a surgical reconstruction team, says his best evaluation of the young patient won't come until Besart is under anesthesia, possibly on Saturday.

'So traumatized'

Only Besart's family knows what he looks like beneath the bandage he wears diagonally across his mutilated face, covering his right eye and stretching to his left cheek.

"The young boy is so traumatized, he has absolutely no clue what's going on, and I don't even know where to begin to tell him what's going on," Padilla says.

In the same hospital room with Besart, just on the other side of a curtain, lies his older sister, Lulietu, 19.

padilla
iconRELATED AUDIO:
Padilla is leading the surgical reconstruction team
249 K/9 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
 

She, too, was maimed May 14 when a misdirected NATO bomb exploded in their home town of Korisa, killing dozens of ethnic Albanians. Among the dead were Besart and Lulietu's mother and two other family members.

Besart still asks to see his mother. No one has the courage to tell him she is dead.

'I'm going to ask God to help me'

During Lulietu's initial exam, she proves more cooperative than her brother, allowing the doctors to exam her facial wounds and fractured right leg.

In broken English, an interpreter relays Lulietu's thoughts: "She wishes it doesn't happen to anybody, what happened to her family."

Dr. Michael Paveloff, an eye surgeon, will try to assess if the siblings' eyesight can be restored. "I'm more optimistic for her than I am for her brother," he tells CNN.

Other doctors -- specialists in infectious diseases, orthopedic surgery and child psychology -- also are part of the team. All the doctors have donated their time and skills.

And, adds Padilla, "I'm going to ask God to help me."



RELATED STORIES:
Kosovar brother, sister injured in NATO bombing arrive in U.S. for treatment
July 1, 1999
German troops find more evidence of atrocities in Kosovo
July 1, 1999
Badly injured Kosovo siblings en route to California for surgery
July 1, 1999
NATO bombing victims head to U.S. for treatment
June 30, 1999
U.N. human rights commissioner worried about Kosovo
June 30, 1999

RELATED SITES:
St. Francis Medical Center (Santa Barbara)

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News

Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Relief:
  • World Relief
  • Doctors without borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International
  • UNHCR


Other:
  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.

 LATEST HEADLINES:
SEARCH CNN.com
Enter keyword(s)   go    help

Back to the top   © 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.