Hasan is a daughter, a sister, a mother and at the moment, our patient.
Hasan’s smile is a clear window into her strong spirit, but her scars tell a different story.
Three years ago, after a family dispute over her dowry, Hasan’s husband and brother-in-law threw gasoline over her and set her on fire. Despite her burn injuries, Hasan survived.
Today, Hasan is safely living in her parent’s home. Yet, her burn contractures have left her unable to move her neck and arms. She traveled a long way from her village to seek treatment.
“People in my village told me not to come, they are scared to leave the village,” she said. “I’m not scared, I want to get my neck fixed,” she continued.
While our surgeons masterfully released Hasan’s contractures, I was overwhelmed by the thought that Hasan’s life could very well have been mine. I was born three years before Hasan and while at 25 I was pursuing my dream of working for an international NGO, Hasan was living a very different reality. I feel grateful for my life, but more so I feel a responsibility to do more for others whose reality is vastly different from mine.
“Did you do my surgery?” asked Hasan as she woke from anesthesia.
“Yes,” replied Nisha, our translator.
“I had a dream that I was rejected for surgery,” continued Hasan. “Did you release my contractures?” she inquired.
“Yes, we did,” affirmed Nisha.
“In my village, they tell me I’m useless because I’m divorced and unable to move my neck and arms. I will now return to my village and show everyone that I’m not useless,” said Hasan while she slowly fell back asleep.
Hasan’s story has touched my heart. Her body may have been scarred, but her character and spirit remain intact as she heads back to her village ready to prove her worth.