In 2001, a 9-year-old girl named Zubaida Hasan suffered a horrific accident in her Kabul, Afghanistan home. While pouring kerosene into an already-heated stove, the liquid suddenly ignited, setting the girl alight with it. Zubaida fell to the ground over the still-blazing kerosene lamp and continued to burn. By the time Zubaida was saved, her chin had melted to her chest, leaving her unable to close her mouth or eyes. Her right arm was connected to her side. Zubaida’s father took her as far as Iran for treatment, but was told that Zubaida would die.
Eventually, Mohamed Hasan brought his daughter to the American troops stationed nearby. Zubaida was flown to Los Angeles, where she underwent 12 painful surgeries in the course of a year. By the end of her treatment, Zubaida was not only healed completely, but devoid of disfiguring facial scarring.
As Zubaida’s account demonstrates, a burn injury is not the end of the world. Even when the situation seems hopeless, there are opportunities for help. Following are some of the resources available to Utahans:
1. Intermountain Burn Center at University of Utah
The only academic medical center in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada has a burn unit complete with specialists for each facet of burn injury. Serious burn injuries may be referred by a doctor to their staff for the most comprehensive treatment available in the area.
2. The American Burn Association
The Association not only maintains a website chock-full of literature for the victims of burn injuries and their caretakers; they actively support research and innovations in treating serious burns and advocate for legal assistance of burn injury victims.
To promote full recovery and reintegration, this nonprofit organization offers emotional support to burn injury victims and their families, as well as providing information about burn camps and other opportunities for survivors. Their website features a number of video clips of motivational speeches, inspirational music, and even a music video featuring burn victims.
4. Shriners Hospitals for Children
There are 22 Shriners Children’s hospitals nationwide to provide no-cost medical care to those burn injury victims who otherwise could not afford it and contribute groundbreaking research to many areas of the medical field. One such research/care facility can be found in Salt Lake City.
5. World Burn Foundation
Offering assistance to burn victims throughout the world, this organization fosters an online community for those who have suffered from burn injuries to share their stories and lend strength to one another.
6. Survivor’s Hope
Survivor’s Hope accepts uplifting recovery stories to connect the experiences of burn victims everywhere. The site is a small wealth of photographs, videos, and testimonials to the resiliency of burn victims.
While the work that goes into providing online information and support groups is much appreciated, severe burn injuries require costly medical care that cannot always be covered by nonprofit organizations or the families of burn survivors. When burn injuries result from legal negligence, the author of that negligence and the victim’s medical insurance should contribute to the recovery of the victim. For those in the Salt Lake City area who have been unable to obtain help from these sectors, all may not be lost—Christensen & Hymas offers free legal advice to burn victims and legal representation to those who could benefit from it. For more information, call (801)-506-0800.
Image courtesy of Andres Rodriguez