A Prosthetic Eye Journey – Shah Bibi Tarakhail

In the worn torn country of Afghanistan, roadside bombs are unfortunately the new normal. This tragedy is epitomized by the large number of children stumbling upon their devastating effects. Shah Bibi Tarakhail is one of the those children; drawn to a shiny object on the side of the road, that would forever change the course of her life.

The shiny object that Shah Bibi thought would make a nice surprise for her mother, was in fact a discarded live grenade. What began as an innocent discovery, left her without her right arm and eye. While receiving primary care to patch up her wounds, Shah Bibi caught the attention of a military nurse from California who would again change the course of her young life. Sam Austin, touched by Shah Bibi’s moving story, enlisted the help of the Children of War Foundation, www.cowf.org, a medical charity whose mission is to provide world-class surgical treatment to children in need.

One of the lucky few children, Shah Bibi soon received a trip to Los Angeles to begin her treatment. After delicate surgery to remove shrapnel from her body, Shah Bibi has fit with a prosthetic arm and returned home to Afghanistan. Unfortunately the special attention she received in the United States came at a price; her notoriety making her a prime target for Afghan militants. She was pressured to return to Los Angeles for safety.

During her second visit the US, passing the time in the hospital, Shah Bibi began to color and paint. A refugee in a foreign country, amidst the watchful eye of countless adults, Shah Bibi found solace in the freedom to express herself. This artistic passion grew, and led her to the studio of abstract artist, Davyd Whaley, in Beverly Hills, CA. This connection catapulted Shah Bibi’s story to the pages of The Los Angeles Times, BBC, and CBS news.

A young artist in the limelight of Los Angeles, Shah Bibi is now ready to begin her next journey; the fitting and fabrication of her new prosthetic eye. Working closely with Dr. Mark Urata at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, www.chla.org, and Mr. Stephen Haddad, Board Certified Ocularist, will be custom fitting and fabricating a naturally appearing prosthetic eye for Shah Bibi. While Mr. Haddad might not be able to restore her vision, he will certainly be able to restore her confidence.

You can continue to follow Shah Bibi’s prosthetic eye journey through our blog posts. Ocular Prosthetics, Inc. is honored to be apart of such an amazing and inspiring story!