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Baptist boy injured in blast recovering from brain surgery


BRANDON, Fla. (BP)–The next 10 days were described as critical for 6-year-old Samuel Womble after brain surgery March 28 that doctors said was “extremely successful.”

The Brandon boy underwent six hours of surgery to treat grenade shrapnel wounds he suffered in a terrorist attack in a church in Pakistan on March 16.

The operation went as planned, but doctors said there is a 10-day window in which infection is a grave risk.

“Getting through a surgery like this is miraculous,” said John Russell, the family’s spokesman. “There is still a serious risk, so we are asking anyone who wishes to join in praying with us.”

Samuel was recovering in the intensive care unit of an undisclosed U.S. military hospital abroad. Russell said Samuel was breathing on his own and talking.

Doctors said there was little damage and healing has begun. They had worried about the portion of Samuel’s brain affecting sight and hearing, but they found no damage.

Doctors removed a piece of shrapnel about the size of a BB from the boy’s brain.

“We are all excited with great surprise because they prepared us for the worst,” he said. “The family is rejoicing.”

Cindy Womble, Samuel’s mother, was able to see her son for the first time since the attack as they were taking the boy to the operating room.

Hospital staff wheeled her bed into the corridor so she could hold Samuel’s hand and comfort him.

“He became a different boy,” said Rees Nickerson, Samuel’s maternal grandfather. “Both received a release that was desperately needed.”

Jeff Womble then carried his son and placed him in the arms of an awaiting anesthesiologist.

Russell has set up a box at the Bloomingdale Post Office for those wanting to send the family a card. Send mail to The Wombles, c/o The Nickersons, 809 E. Bloomingdale Ave., Box 408, Brandon, FL 33511.

Russell, a pastor at Bell Shoals Baptist Church, which the family attended before leaving for Pakistan in February to do humanitarian aid work, said the mail will be bundled at least weekly and forwarded to the family.

“God gave us a full and complete miracle today,” he said.
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This story first appeared in The Tampa Tribune and is used here by permission.

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  • Tom Brennan