'Ebraheim is remarkable': doctor speaks on Barho's recovery process
HALIFAX -- Ebraheim Barho and his wife and children arrived in Canada full of hope and promise after fleeing war-torn Syria. However, that joy turned to despair when a fire in their Spryfield home claimed the lives of their seven children.
To this day, Barho remains in hospital after suffering burns to 80 percent of his body and extensive internal damage.
"An injury like that just doesn't affect your skin, it affects every other organ," says lead physician in the burn unit at the Halifax Infirmary, Dr. Jack Rasmussen. "So he was placed in the ICU and was very aggressively managed for the first couple weeks to help him get through this illness."
Over the past year, Barho has undergone nearly 15 surgeries, hours of physiotherapy and speech therapy – all with his wife, Kawthar, by his side.
"Ebraheim is remarkable. Ebraheim has gone through some challenging circumstances, but Kawthar has also gone through just as much herself," says Rasmussen. "What's incredible is we've really seen Kawthar become a full member of his care team; so she is involved in every step of his care at this point; his dressing, his therapies, psychologically supporting him in everything that will come moving forward as he as he gets ready to go back to the community."
Both parents are also receiving support to cope with the trauma of the night the fire destroyed their home, as well as the loss of their children.
"I can't speak to what he's gone through—none of us can except for his wife—but it has certainly been a process for him to help come to terms with losing his children," says Rasmussen. "I think all along the way he's been fortunate to have the support of his wife; his wife's family and siblings are here, as well as the support of the community. I think anybody who loses family, it's a process and will go on long after he's left hospital."
As for what Barho's doctor has learned from him – it's resiliency.
"To see someone with the severity of injuries come through this and still have such an optimistic attitude and be excited to get to go home and transition back to the community is really inspiring," says Rasmussen.
Rasmussen notes the Barhos are touched with the community support they've received thus far and thank everyone for how much support they have been given during their trying times.
Ebraheim Barho has more rehabilitation ahead of him before he can be medically discharged from hospital and he will continue to require ongoing therapy as an outpatient. Rasmussen says while there is still no firm departure date, they're getting closer every day.
Meanwhile, Barho's case is now helping other patients. His survival and triumph over incredible odds has the medical team passing on what they've learned to support other burn patients in their recovery.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Marie Adsett