HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Thị Sáu, 54, has lived with a deformed face and burn marks for nearly five decades.
Sáu, from the northern province of Phú Thọ, fell into a boiling pot when she was six years old.
She survived but her tendons and skin were damaged so she could not turn her head around. Her face was also deformed with the teeth on her lower jaw pointing out of her mouth. She could hardly speak afterwards.
Since then, Sáu has depended on her 90-year-old mother for everything. Feeling ashamed of her appearance, she has rarely left her house in nearly 50 years.
By the middle of last year, the burn marks had worsened and she only had enough money to buy herbal medicine.
Then the Vietnam National Institute of Burns provided free treatment for the poor woman. It treated her burns first and worked with oral maxillofacial doctors to conduct jaw surgery.
Associate professor Vũ Quang Vinh, director of the Centre for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery under the hospital, led a five-hour surgery on her face.
Now, after three months of treatment at the hospital, Sáu is in a stable condition. She can close her mouth, turn her head around and the burn marks on her neck have disappeared.
Vinh told the Sức khỏe & Đời sống (Health and Life) newspaper that treating Sáu was a great challenge for doctors.
“But with doctors’ efforts and skills, now I can confirm that her surgery was successful. Sáu will have a new appearance and new life,” he said.
Lê Thị Lan Vy, 24, is another patient with horrible burn marks.
She was attacked with sulfuric acid by her fiance. He was sentenced to six years in prison, while Vy suffered terrible damage to her face.
Not only was her face deformed, but her arms, legs and different parts on her body had burn marks. She couldn't even open her left eye.
Vinh said that surgery on Vy was very complicated and had lots of risks and after medical consultations, doctors decided to use Vy’s back skin to heal her face.
Two surgeries lasting a total of eight hours helped Vy improve her condition.
Now, she is 90 per cent recovered and can open both her eyes again.
Sáu and Vy are two of many patients who have received support from doctors of the Centre for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery to regain their confidence.
Associate professor Vinh, director of the centre, is considered a doctor with 'gold hands'. Since 2006, he has conducted nearly 600 surgeries, including dozens of facial surgeries for patients with serious burn marks.
The centre examines hundreds of patients per day.
“The consequences of burns become an obsession which requires extraordinary energy from patients,” said Vinh.
He said the most important work is helping people overcome their trauma and rehabilitate to have a better life.
Vinh said that the doctors of the centre were driven on by their success to improve their professional skills and bring better results to patients. — VNS