Saving 'Pakistan's Mother Theresa'

Act 2: British doctors recall how close Malala was to death after a Taliban assassination attempt.
6:54 | 10/11/13

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Saving 'Pakistan's Mother Theresa'
Reporter: October 2012, in the remote and beautiful mountains of the swat valley of pakistan. A group of school girls are on their school bus singing. One of them notices that the road is strangely quiet where are the people? Suddenly, two men approach with beards and a gun, a colt 45. One of them climbs on the bus and asks a question, 'who is malala.' she doesn't remember what happened next, but her friend described that moment. She said, like, "you said nothing and you were just for -- you were just holding my hand and you just squeezed my hand, like you were just forcing it. And you said nothing." And she said, like, "you just look at -- looked at the men like this. And then she said, like, then he -- fired three -- three bullets and one hit you on the left side of my head. I would have been doing like this. So I hide my face, because there was gunpow -- powder on my fingers. Reporter: A year later, her friend still too afraid to go on camera, tells what happened next. My clothes, my shoes, my socks, my pouch, my books, all was just full of blood. Malala's blood. Reporter: The girls are screaming as the little school bus frantically races to the bare bones local hospital where doctors only have basic first-aid. We were trying our best. Reporter: Two hours will pass before a helicopter can deliver her to a military surgeon who spends five hours trying to relieve the swelling on her brain and removing tiny clots. But already, it's as if a kind of miracle is surrounding her. By a strange coincidence, there is someone in pakistan for the first time. A top specialist in pediatric trauma from england doctor fiona reynolds, with her colleague, doctor javid kayani. They've been sitting in long governmental meetings on medical programs when suddenly dr. Reynolds is told to race out and try to save the life of a famous and dying child. The tubes have given malala an infection. The machines are improperly set her blood isn't clotting. Her lungs and kidneys are beginning to fail. You heard she was dying? There was a possibility she was dying and a possibility that she would survive. She had become septic. It was obvious that she had a very serious life-threatening infection. Reporter: A distraught father asks -- "is there any hope?" And I said to him, "well, the only reason I'm here is because there is some hope." And -- he cried. Yes. Because malala is the most precious of gift of god for me in this world. What would you have done if she had been lost? Don't say so. I should not lose her. I can't think of it. Reporter: Dr. Reynolds makes a risky recommendation to take the gravely ill girl on an eight-hour trip to a high-tech hospital in england. Since she doesn't really know the country, the recommendation comes with a fleeting thought. What if her recommendation is wrong? And I said, "yes, we could end up in jail." And, you know, "because we've killed pakistan's mother teresa." She is very precious to pakistan and she's very precious to the rest of the world. And we were looking after her. Reporter: From another muslim country comes another life giving offer. The emir of the united arab emirates sends one of his royal planes outfitted as a hospital, a state-of-the-art intensive care unit. And for the entire eight hour flight to england, doctor reynolds and doctor kayani keep malala alive breath by breath, organ by organ. And they also have noticed something else that defies possibility. The bullet took a path that simply cannot be believed. The chances of being shot at point blank range in the head and that happening, I don't know. But it is amazing. Truly amazing. I don't know why she survived. Maybe his hand was shaky. He hit her there. So it goes under the skin, near the skull, the skin but what happens? Reporter: A bullet traveling one thousand feet per second slips under malala's skin, but as it heads toward her brain, that bone turns out to be so strong and curved, it forces the bullet to ricochet away. Instead the bullet smashes her eardrum, severs the nerve in her face, and hits her shoulder.. The fact that she didn't die on the spot or very soon thereafter is to my mind nothing short of miraculous. Miracle. If you believe in miracles, yes. Absolutely. Maybe. Here is the -- is the backbone and here's the brain. And god saved me. Reporter: But even if she survives, at this point, doctors still have no idea if she'll ever walk, or see, or be able to speak again. Though somehow in her deep coma, malala says she remembers a kind of floating consciousness. She calls it her seven daydream. I was -- thinking that am i dead or am I alive? If I am dead, I shall be like -- in a graveyard. And then but I said, like, you are not dead. You can talk to yourself. How can you be dead? Reporter: A vague sense that somehow, she's at home and worried about being ready for school. I love my school and I loved my small house. Reporter: At home in her paradise which was swat. I think every second and every minute in swat was beautiful. It is a paradise. It's a paradise on earth. There are tall mountains and on the mountains, there you can see green, tall trees. And in the -- in the center is -- is river, that's called river swat. And it's blue. It's full of fish. Reporter: And the man with the gun on the school bus didn't grasp that the girl in this coma had a destiny carried in her name her father had given her at birth it is right out of their history books. Malala a girl from maiwand a shepherd's daughter led her people to victory when they were too afraid to fight. One malalai of maiwand is greater than thousands of men. So malala rose up that, "if you don't speak up now, if you don't fight now, then you will be then you will be cowards forever and then you would be slaves forever." Reporter: We ask her father to sing the song of malala he sang in her childhood it says your words can turn worlds around. Rise malala, rise again. [ Singing in a foreign language. Next, a miraculous recovery,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":20550711,"title":"Saving 'Pakistan's Mother Theresa'","duration":"6:54","description":"Act 2: British doctors recall how close Malala was to death after a Taliban assassination attempt.","section":"2020","mediaType":"Default"}