UK & World News
Malala: Brit Doctor's Role In Saving Her Life
The remarkable story of how a Birmingham children's doctor helped save the life of the world's most famous child campaigner is only now being told - at the insistence of her patient.
One year ago today, Fiona Reynolds was visiting Pakistan with several colleagues to advise on transplant surgery when she saw TV reports about how 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai had been shot by the Taliban for publicly promoting education for girls.
Pakistani officials asked Dr Reynolds to visit the hospital in Peshawar where Malala was being treated.
"She was very ill. She was close to death," Dr Reynolds told Sky News.
"In Peshawar her father had been told by the Pakistani doctors, before I arrived, to pray for her and he took it to mean she was dying and he started to make preparations for her funeral."
The initial surgery on Malala was a success, but poor intensive care facilities meant she would probably suffer brain damage - or even die.
"When I reviewed Malala I thought there was a good chance she could survive," Dr Reynolds said.
"But the quality of intensive care was compromising her survival and her ability to get through it without brain damage."
Dr Reynolds helped supervise as Malala was flown by the army from Peshawar to Rawalpindi, and then helped treat her in the critical hours after she arrived.
"By Friday evening it was obvious she was getting better. The threat of the infection passed," Dr Reynolds said.
"The facilities for rehabilitation were not well developed. My opinion was if you want the best outcome for her send her overseas for rehabilitation."
She recommended she be taken to Birmingham.
"They wanted me to compare various hospitals around the world and I wasn't able to do that," Dr Reynolds said.
"But what I was able to tell them was that everything I thought she would need was available in Birmingham."
Despite her key role in saving Malala's life, Dr Reynolds' identity was kept secret for security reasons.
Even Dr Reynolds' friends and colleagues knew nothing of her involvement until Malala insisted that her story be told.
But the doctor is not keen to share the spotlight, even turning down a chance to rub shoulders with some of Malala's famous admirers.
"I was invited to dinner with Angelina Jolie because of her role with the UN, but it was my husband's birthday so I said no," she said.
"All of this world of celebrity and what she does is really important, but I have a job to do here and it's not my world. I don't want to deal with all that celebrity."
She has only agreed to discuss Malala publicly because the schoolgirl encouraged her to.
"I met Malala as a doctor and I'm bound by an oath not to talk about her," Dr Reynolds said.
"She asked everyone to be named in her book, and I didn't want to be named, but Malala said the book had to be the truth.
"She wants her real story to be out there."
Dr Reynolds has plenty of her praise for her former patient, who is tipped to be named as the youngest ever winner of the Nobel Peace Prize later this week.
"She understands international politics in a way many adults don't. She's brought the world's attention to very important issues," Dr Reynolds said.
"I'm biased. I think she deserves the Nobel Peace Prize - but it's up to the committee to decide."
Malala has written a book about her ordeal and ongoing campaign work called I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban.