When Dr. Vinita Puri was asked to travel to Dehradun, India to perform free reconstructive surgeries to those who were on a waiting list and unable to pay, she didn’t think twice. Despite the 13-hour days, Dr. Puri was happy to help. Once there, one little girl, in particular, captured the physician’s attention. There was something about Kriti’s smile and spirit that made an immediate impression on Dr. Puri.
Kriti’s family had heard about a surgical camp being held by ReSurge Surgical Outreach Partner, Dr. Aaron Kush in Dehradun. They traveled far from their small village of Dimau, which lies in the Himalayan foothills of Uttarakhand in northern India. Kriti’s father is a farmer, selling rice, millet and ginger at the local market. He and his wife have three beautiful daughters, including Kriti.
As in many homes in the rural parts of India, their daughters often slept near an open fire on the kitchen floor to stay warm in the winter. One night, Kriti’s hands landed in the fire while she was sleeping, burning them badly. Without access to immediate care, her hands became distorted and immovable due to scarring, a condition known as a contracture. She could not use her hands to eat or play.
Burns are a leading cause of premature death and disability in India. Women and girls suffer burn disabilities and deaths at nearly twice the rate as other women and girls around the globe. Yet, there are only seven surgical specialists for every 100,000 people — and roughly three reconstructive plastic surgeons per 2 million people — in the entire country.
Knowing an inability to use her hands would be detrimental to Kriti’s future, her parents knew they had to make the trip to a larger, urban area to get her the help she needed. They were elated when they heard about the free camp being hosted by Dr. Kush and Dr. Puri and funded by ReSurge supporters. In December of 2022, Kriti’s little hands were transformed by the surgery, releasing them from the scars that pulled them closed.
Dr. Puri thought about Kriti often in the months following her surgery. She was excited to have the opportunity to accompany Dr. Kush to do a follow-up visit in Kriti’s remote village recently to check on her. To their delight, Kristi was doing wonderfully! And the bond between the physician and the little girl will last a lifetime. ReSurge wants to make Kriti’s story the norm for children all over the world, regardless of where they live. With the lack of resources for those in rural settings, accidents can become life-altering events, causing young girls like Kriti to face a life of struggle. For those in the rural communities who rely on the labor to survive, even a small injury can have a lasting impact. ReSurge is providing safe and affordable surgical support so that children like Kriti can not only survive but thrive.
At ReSurge, we are committed to giving patients like Kriti who can’t afford treatment the best possible care. By training and supporting local surgeons like Dr. Puri and Dr. Aeron, we can make a lasting impact now and into the future. Make a donation to support our work here.