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Pakistani Boy Recovering After Lifesaving Surgery In Boston

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Baby Zebaan and his father. (Photo from Kim Tunnicliffe)

Baby Zebaan and his father. (Photo from Kim Tunnicliffe)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Just a few weeks ago, Zebaan Khattak, a 14-month-old Pakistani boy, could barely open his eyes. Now he is recovering from lifesaving surgery at Children’s Hospital Boston.

Zebaan was born with his heart on the wrong side of his body, and no spleen. Zebaan also has two holes in his heart.

Zebaan was in critical condition when he first arrived. Dr. Ram Emani had to perform emergency surgery, and will have to do more when Zebaan gets older.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

“Our ultimate goal is to have a two ventricle repair,” Dr. Emani told WBZ. “That’s a lot of surgery, so I had to do it stages. This was the first stage of the reconstruction and it involved putting a shunt or a tube between the aorta and the pulmonary arteries.”

Dr. Emani said, “His oxygen levels were very low when he came in and this was a way to provide blood-flow to the lungs and to allow the vessels to grow.”

The surgery was funded by The Ray Tye Medical Aid Foundation.  Christine Muratore of Bridgewater contacted the foundation after meeting baby Zebaan’s father, Saleem Khattak, while playing online poker in January.

Baby Zebaan at Boston Children's Hospital

Baby Zebaan at Boston Children’s Hospital

Muratore tried to raise the money for the surgery herself, but the $200,000 price tag was just too much.

Khattak and Muratore’s long distance friendship has now turned into a family bond. Khattak and his wife are staying with Muratore while they’re here, and Muratore visits Zebaan in the hospital several times a week.

“It’s very, very emotional,” said Muratore. “I’m privileged to be a witness to this miracle that so many people helped make.”

Khattak says he is eternally grateful to have Muratore in his life. “You can say this friendship is a miracle for Zebaan,” he says.

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