U.S. Soldiers Work to Bring Iraqi Baby to U.S. for Lifesaving Surgery

At birth, baby Noor was given just 45 days to live, but she has defied those grim odds, and after 90 days, is still hanging on.

Soldiers of the Georgia Army National Guard's 48th Combat Team were on patrol when they discovered Noor, whom they call Nora, living with her family in an Iraqi slum. She was born with spina bifida, a potentially fatal illness that affects the spinal cord. There is no treatment available in Iraq.

"Time is a very critical issue here," Sgt. Michael Sonen said. "She's been like this for three months and technically she shouldn't have survived. But if we can just get over there to the U.S., hopefully we can save her life."

The soldiers teamed up with Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to fly Noor, accompanied by her grandmother and father, to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite later this week. She will be treated free of charge. The surgery could save her life and improve her chances of living a normal, healthy life.

"If we can reach these children early, and we can give them the kind of care that [they] need, almost all of these children can grow well, can go to school, can interact, can be very functional," said Dr. Roger Hudgins of Children's Healthcare.

"This is how we win the war on terror," Sonen said. "We win it one child at a time, one community at a time. And this is what we do."