From Dr. Michelle Spring, Interplast Webster Fellow (September 15):
This is a photo of a beautiful girl who was burned on her legs as a young child. She had a contracture of her right ankle, which made it hard for her to walk normally. Shafquat operated on her and released the contracture and covered the wound with a skin flap. She is here with her mom. They have to stay in the hospital until next week, because they have to take two buses and walk for three hours just to get home.
We have seen many burns, and a lot of the patients have been operated on before by Interplast surgeons. These patients require many surgeries to correct their contracture deformities, and it is nice to be able to continue to help them. There are some children who have been burned in fires, but many are from gasoline, hot milk or hot water burns. Many have very bad scars around their lower face and neck, probably from their clothing starting on fire.
Here is a little more information to understand how a burn becomes a disability from our chief medical officer: Most burn-related disability is due to permanent tightening or contracture of the skin as the burn wound heals, which occurs when there is no immediate access to adequate medical care. Such burn contractures can severely limit mobility and may damage the underlying nerves and muscles. For example, without adequate acute burn care, a burned foot may attach to the shin as the wound “heals” and the skin contracts, consequently eliminating the ability to walk. By releasing contractures, we restore movement and function to the afflicted areas.