Astha, a baby girl in Nepal, fell from her mother’s lap into a fire during a traditional ceremony when she was two months old, sustaining severe burns to her face and right hand.
Astha was unable to get the immediate treatment that she needed, and as her injury began to heal, scars formed over her face to the point that her mouth was sealed almost completely closed. She was only able to eat through a small eyedropper and was unable to suck. Shortly before members of a ReSurge team arrived, Astha’s mother brought her to the hospital where our Surgical Outreach Program operates year-round.
While at the hospital, Dr. Nancy Chee, an occupational therapist and long-time ReSurge volunteer, and Mohan Dangol, a hand therapist working with our Surgical Outreach Program in Kathmandu whom Dr. Chee has trained for many years, were able to fashion a small plastic splint that could be hooked onto the corners of Astha’s mouth. Using a rubber band extended behind her head, her mouth was stretched open to just over 0.5 cm. They changed and adjusted the splint regularly, and within days, her mouth opened to almost 1.5 cm and she was able to suck.
In sharing the story, Dr. Chee reflected proudly on how ReSurge’s training had equipped Mohan to help Astha and many other patients. She said Astha’s mother was ecstatic with her daughter’s progress and hoped that with her mother’s persistence and dedication, Astha would survive and thrive.