Survivor stories

Lucky, Bangladesh

Lucky was attacked with acid in broad daylight by her husband on her way home from a garment factory where she worked. Aged just 26, she is a single mother supporting two young children; her husband has not been seen since the attack.

The defining characteristic of acid burns is the prolonged duration of tissue destruction that continues until all the acid is either inactivated or neutralised. Fortunately, Lucky was assisted by people on the street who helped her wash out the acid thrown on her face with water. Due in large part to the educational campaigns conducted by the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) in Bangladesh, people now know that washing out acid from affected areas of the body with water reduces the inflicted damage considerably. In some cases the immediate and selfless help of bystanders has saved the eye-sight of the individual attacked, and surgery has not been required.

In Lucky’s own words, “my husband is a drug addict, and has been for a long time. He works with me in the same factory, but all of the time he asks me for money and for things. He usually beats me to get my money. On that day he again was asking me for money, and I had said no. That day I went to work, finished work, and when I went to leave he was waiting for me on my way home when he attacked me with acid straight in my face. I have no idea where my husband is now, neither do the police”.

“I was afraid of the operation. It is the first time I have seen an operating theatre complex like this. I’ve never had experience of this. I was afraid I would not wake-up after the operation, and as I have never had an operation before I did not know what it involved. I never knew an operation would be needed to heal my face. I never thought my skin would be removed and put on my face.

Now I am in a lot of pain. It is very painful – my face, my eyes, and my arm where the skin was taken. But I hope to recover just like before, before I had acid thrown on me. I am looking forward to that.”

Lucky was very hesitant about getting surgery done as the process of anaesthesia bewildered and frightened her, and upon the initial assessment with ASTI volunteer surgeon, Dr Ron Hiles, she declined the surgery. However, she subsequently underwent surgery on her eyelids, less then ten days after the attack. The photo above was taken two days following the surgery.

According to Dr Ron Hiles, “This case is quite typical, that we’ve just performed. It is a wife who was attacked by her husband. Through treating a lot of these cases we’ve learnt that there are very considerable benefits from operating early. If we wait there is a greater chance of long term disability and disfigurement, particularly in terms of the eyelids, which we have been operating on in this case.”

Lucky photographed two days after surgery

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