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Case in point - Waffa’s story

Waffa's story

Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a serious long-term condition, at the age of 10, Waffa Girfshab never imagined she’d be taking her A’ levels and thinking of a medical career.

It’s been a long haul for Waffa since she was admitted to Barts and The London Children’s Hospital in 2004 following a serious relapse in her condition.  For the next six weeks, she had to be fed intravenously and was then confined to bed for a further four months, receiving nutrition via a tube inserted into her stomach through her nose. To make things worse, her joints flared up – a complication of Crohn’s – and she couldn’t walk. 

Waffa continued with her education during her stay in hospital, with the help of our Children’s Hospital teacher and, within a year of leaving hospital, Waffa sat her GCSEs.  Her A’ level topics now include biology and chemistry, as she’s thinking of pursuing a medical career.

“The doctors gave me so much support and encouragement that I was able to go back to school and catch up with my work. When I got home, everything was arranged for me so I didn’t have to worry,” says Waffa.

A large multidisciplinary team of specialists cares for Waffa.  “We are all very impressed with Waffa’s determination, response to treatment and recovery,” says Consultant Paediatric Gastroenterologist Dr Sandhia Naik.

 “The facilities at Barts and The London Children’s Hospital are great. I am used to a very high standard of care here.”

What is Crohn’s disease?

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the digestive tract. In Waffa’s case, the disease affects her entire alimentary tract, from her mouth through her whole intestine, causing inflammation, thickening and ulceration. When ill, patients can find it very difficult to eat and drink, which means that they can lose weight very quickly.