A Brave Face
April 10, 2021
In 2006, Barbara Marlowe saw young Teeba in a Plain Dealer article about children in Iraq needing multiple plastic surgeries. When Teeba was just 19 months old, the taxi she was riding in was hit by an IED. Teeba’s head, face and hands sustained severe burns.
Barbara worked tirelessly trying to figure out how to get Teeba to the U.S. to receive treatment at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. A mutual friend introduced Barbara to Avroy A. Fanaroff, MD, who then-served as chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at UH Rainbow, and together they formulated a care plan. One year and hundreds of phone calls later, Teeba arrived in Cleveland to begin treatments.
“I was aware that UH Rainbow had an impeccable reputation and that has played out in every way. From the moment you pull your car up to the valet, to the receptionist in the lobby, to the staff who keeps the hospital clean, everyone is friendly and kind,” said Barbara. “The doctors, nurses and entire medical staff were patient, communicative and showed great concern and empathy for Teeba, including when she didn’t speak fluent English.”
Through more than 19 surgeries to support tissue expansion, Teeba has been able to grow her own skin to replace the burned skin on her face. “Teeba has gone from a scarred and scared little girl to a confident, savvy, beautiful and compassionate young adult,” said Barbara.
Teeba continues to live with Barbara and her husband Tim and is now a flourishing 17-year-old who was inspired by the clinicians at UH Rainbow to pursue a career as a pediatric anesthesiologist.
“Rainbow is an exceptional place. The same quality of care we received was evident with all of their patients. Rainbow has heart and a soul.”
Together, Teeba and Barbara have now written a book about their incredible journey, the relationship that will forever bind them, and how one decision can change a person’s life forever.