PORTLAND (AP) – The father of a 5-year-old Iraqi girl who underwent surgery last week at Maine Medical Center to repair a hole in her heart said Monday he would like to see her become a doctor so she can help others with health problems like her own.

Abdul Al-Hady Hassan Hesab and his daughter Noor met with reporters four days after the operation that was arranged by a Utah Army National Guard unit serving in Iraq.

Speaking through an interpreter, Hesab said Noor should grow up to be what she wishes, but he would be delighted if she decided to study medicine.

Out of shyness, Noor said nothing during the news conference, even when asked to name her favorite food.

The youngster has made daily progress since the two-hour operation to fix a hole in the septum that divides the two pumping chambers of the heart.

The surgery was described as fairly routine and not high risk.

Hesab expressed appreciation for the welcome he and his daughter have received. He said his fondest memory will be the kindness shown by Dr. Reed Quinn, the pediatric cardiac surgeon who performed the operation at no cost.

Noor’s father said Quinn is a brother to him now and he prays that he will live a long life and help a lot of children.

The girl and her father will be staying in the area for three to four weeks while doctors monitor her condition to ensure that there is no fluid buildup in the heart and that the external wound is healing property.

Quinn, who has ties to Utah, learned of Noor’s condition from the 115th Engineering Group. The surgery and all the arrangements were provided under a program in which Quinn’s medical group, Maine Heart Surgical Associates, performs six to eight such charity cases a year.

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