Qossay Sallout Medical team treats 8-year-old for severe craniofacial disorders. 

Boy from Gaza Receives Care

Qossay Sallout

Qossay Sallout with his grandmother, Hajjar Abusilmi

An 8-year-old boy from Gaza is recovering after receiving life-changing surgeries in Shreveport.

In early May, Qossay Sallout underwent a 16-hour surgery at Willis-Knighton South that included LSU Health Shreveport doctors from several medical specialties. His surgery to address severe craniofacial disorders followed his younger brother Farid’s treatment for similar conditions in 2016.

“He didn’t have any treatment available in Gaza,” said Qossay’s grandmother, Hajjar Abusilmi. “They tried sending him to a doctor there, and they said there was no surgery or anything they could do for him.”

The Palestine Children’s Relief Fund, a nonprofit humanitarian organization committed to aiding children in the Middle East, funded both trips to the United States for the brothers with their grandmother as their accompanying guardian.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons from LSU Health Shreveport diagnosed Qossay with rare midline clefting conditions that caused nasal structural issues, as well as orbital hypertelorism, or wide-spaced eyes, and a posterior cranial defect with a portion of his skull missing. While the family believed the deformities could have been the result of the mother being exposed to tear gas, a geneticist who examined Farid said it was more likely a genetic mutation carried through the family chromosomes.

“Both boys had this butterfly-shaped open spot in their skulls where there was no bone, only brain underneath,” said Dr. Jason Dashow, a cleft and craniofacial surgery fellow at LSU Health Shreveport. He explained the skull deformity was life-threatening for Qossay. “Being an active little boy, if anything were to hit that, it basically would just have to go through skin and then it’s in the brain. Where the rest of us have a casing, he didn’t have that in a large area. Now there is bone placed across that area that will grow in, just like his brother. When they’re playing games and they get bumped in the back of the head, like any kid does, they’re now protected.”

In the first surgery, bone was grafted to the areas of the skull that were open, Qossay’s eye sockets were narrowed and made more symmetric, the bridge of his nose was reconstructed, and his forehead was made more symmetric.

Qossay had a follow-up procedure on June 12 to give his nose more contour and to address esotropia, a condition that causes the eye to turn in. He and his grandmother will soon return home, where Qossay’s parents and four siblings are waiting to welcome him.

Physicians involved in Qossay’s care donated their services, and Willis-Knighton Health System provided housing and covered the medical expenses, which Dashow estimated at $400,000.

LSU Health Shreveport’s craniofacial surgery team providing care for Qossay included Chancellor Dr. G.E. Ghali, Dr. Jennifer Woerner, surgery fellows Drs. Jason Dashow, Chris Galea and Stavan Patel, surgery resident Dr. Spencer Armuth, and registered nurse Diane Dunki Jacobs Nolten.

Qossay’s treatment also included the neurosurgery team with Dr. Christina Notarianni and surgery resident Dr. Menarvia Nixon, Dr. Kevin Boykin with pediatric surgery, ophthalmologist Dr. John Hinrichsen, and Dr. John Mata in pediatric urology.

Dr. Abby Carroll with Pierremont Pediatrics completed Qossay’s preoperative evaluation, and pediatric dentists Drs. Christy Jen and Bryan Stewart from Shreveport Bossier Family Dental also evaluated him.

“First I want to thank God and then all the doctors that helped Qossay with these surgeries and the supporting staff that helped with his care,” Abusilmi said.