The Woman's Hospital of Texas Saves an African Girl's Life

Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith and Dr. Eric Jones Provide Life-Saving Care to 7-year-old Affected by Female Genital Mutilation

May 01, 2013, 00:27 ET from The Woman's Hospital of Texas

HOUSTON, May 1, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- A 7-year-old African girl will soon be a normal little girl again, thanks to a recent life-changing surgery by an exceptional medical team at The Woman's Hospital of Texas.


Hadiatu Jalloh, along with her mother Umu, traveled to Houston from Sierra Leone, West Africa, for complications from female genital mutilation (FGM) from which she has suffered for more than a year.

FGM, also known as female circumcision, has no health benefits for girls and women, the World Health Organization reports, and about 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of the procedure.

Hadiatu's family is Fulani, an ethnic group across West Africa. As tradition, the Fulanis usually circumcise their girls between age 5 and 10.

Due to complications from the FGM procedure, little Hadiatu could not stop bleeding, her mother recently told an interpreter at The Woman's Hospital of Texas. Umu's journey to help her daughter took her from village to village in their home country of Guinea.

Hadiatu underwent two additional non-medical procedures in an attempt to repair the damage she suffered.  However, the bleeding continued. After the second procedure to stop the bleeding, Hadiatu could not properly urinate and suffered terrible pain and uncontrollable urine leakage. In her desperate quest for help, Umu then took her daughter across the border to Sierra Leone but still could not find a doctor to treat Hadiatu.

"Actually the anatomy had been sewn together and so the entire vagina was shut. As a result, she wasn't able to pass urine," said Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith, an OB/GYN specialist with Complete Women's Care Center at The Woman's Hospital of Texas. "Over time a tiny little hole had developed allowing urine to escape a little leak at a time."

Dr. Hardwick-Smith—along with a team led by Houston pediatric urologist Dr. Eric Jones—solved Hadiatu's problem by removing some scar tissue during the successful surgery Monday. The procedure likely saved her life and helped prevent further complications.

Dr. Hardwick-Smith has worked in Africa and first learned of Hadiatu after visiting Sierra Leone on a medical mission. Hardwick-Smith then organized a team of doctors and approached The Woman's Hospital of Texas, where she is on staff.  The hospital and physicians offered its services and facilities at no cost. The Jallohs were able to obtain a visa for medical treatment.

"I am absolutely thrilled that the team at The Woman's Hospital of Texas did its small part to make a difference globally," said Linda Russell, CEO. "As Houston's FIRST Woman's Hospital, we believe that every woman and child deserves compassionate, exceptional care. That, of course, includes precious Hadiatu."

Hadiatu is expected to be discharged Wednesday, physicians said. And her mother couldn't be happier, eager to have her little girl join her two baby brothers back home.

"I am grateful to the doctors and everyone here," Umu said tearfully.  "The physicians and The Woman's Hospital of Texas saved my daughter's life."


We will have a media event at 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Wednesday, May 1 for photo opportunities and to interview the Jalloh family with the help of an interpreter. Dr. Susan Hardwick-Smith and Woman's Assistant CNO Sylvia Godinich will also be available.


The Woman's Hospital of Texas
West Tower Entrance Lobby
7600 Fannin, Houston, TX 77054 

Complimentary Valet Parking will be available directly outside the West Tower for easy access inside and outside the event.

Producer preview link (not download):

To see Hadiatu Jalloh's video story, you may download video assets and scripts from the following ftp site:

Each folder contains:

  • Complete video package with split track audio
  • Sound Bites with the doctors
  • "B" roll of patient arriving at Hobby Airport, procedure and The Woman's Hospital
  • PDF Documents with:
    • Press Release
    • Sample Scripts
    • Suggested lower third graphic information
    • Video asset log with time code references

About The Woman's Hospital of Texas

The Woman's Hospital of Texas is Houston's FIRST Woman's Hospital. The hospital was established in 1976 by a group of physicians who recognized the need for a facility focused solely on the care of women and infants. In keeping with this vision, Woman's offers a full range of women's services, including breakthrough developments in minimally invasive surgery such as Robotic Surgery, and urogynecology. The hospital has an antepartum unit, 36 labor and delivery rooms, a medical surgical unit and 124-bed Levels II and III Neonatal Intensive Care nurseries. Since its inception, The Woman's Hospital of Texas has welcomed over 200,000 babies into the world and delivers more babies in Houston than any other hospital. Our experienced physicians specialize in high-risk deliveries, from handling preemies weighing less than 1,500 grams to offering a comprehensive Multiples Clinic for women having twins, triplets, or more. In addition, the Woman's Hospital of Texas was twice named a top performer in quality measures by the Joint Commission, and has been designated as a Center of Excellence for Continence Care in Women by the National Association for Continence. Visit our website at

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SOURCE The Woman's Hospital of Texas