Quang Ngai, Vietnam-Nicole Friedland, Interplast Staff. Photo by John Urban
Thuong is 17 years old and lives about half an hour from Quang Ngai. His father is a farmer whose wife died a year after Thuong was born. Since then, he has raised four children on his own: Thuong is the youngest. When Thuong was 12 he started having seizures. At 14, while he was cooking for his father, brothers and sisters, who were all working in the fields, he had a seizure and fell into the fire.
He burned his right forearm and part of his hand. A thick scar covers his entire forearm and the skin has contracted at his wrist, pulling his fingers back towards his forearm. He said he's not afraid to have surgery today. I last saw him in the operating room. Dr. Les Proctor had anesthetized him and Dr. Jim Wallace had released the contracture and was grafting skin onto his wrist.