International News

Dec 28, 2012 9:57 PM by Ryan Jaslow - CBS News

Badly burned Ugandan 11-year-old walks for first time in 4 years

Eleven-year-old Adolf Baguma walked for the first time in four years on Christmas thanks to the help of an international aid organization, CBS Los Angeles reports.

Baguma lived in Uganda when, at age 7, his 14-year-old aunt badly burned his legs with a banana leaf as punishment for trying to take food. His legs healed at a 90-degree angle because the burns were never treated properly, forcing him to crawl on all fours to get around.

Children's Burn Foundation, a non-profit, learned of the boy's case through a Los Angeles-area attorney Laine Wagonseller, who had met him at an orphanage, and flew him to Los Angeles in November and paid for reconstructive surgery, CBS station KCBS in Los Angeles reported at the time.

Dr. Peter Grossman performed two surgeries on both of the boy's legs at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills, Calif.

"The problem we faced in surgery was not just the skin, but the shrinkage, or the contraction, of the muscle. That was the most challenging part for us. To be able to get the muscle to its normal length," Grossman told CBS Los Angeles.

Once they straightened the legs, they had to cover the wounds using a large portion of skin from his abdomen.

The boy faces weeks of rehab but is showing improvement each day and is confident he'll ride a bike in weeks.

"I'm happy! For walking," he said.

Photo credit: KCBS/Children's Burn Foundation

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