Woman who lost face in UXO explosion recovering after plastic surgery

By Vien An, Thanh Nien News

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Nguyen Thi Chau Phu is being treated at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nguyen Mi Nguyen Thi Chau Phu is being treated at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Nguyen Mi

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A 27-year-old woman is recovering well after a complicated surgery to rebuild her face which had been badly damaged after a war-era bomb exploded, doctors at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital said.
The 12-hour surgery on Nguyen Thi Chau Phu was performed by 15 doctors, the hospital said at a press briefing Wednesday.
The accident happened on May 28 when the woman was cooking at her home in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang.
Her husband’s friend Le Van Minh brought an unexploded bomb into their house and sawed it, setting off the explosion.
Minh was killed on the spot while Phu was badly injured in her face and right arm. Doctors said she had lost her nose, cheeks and upper lip and would have died if the cut had been a little deeper.
Phu was admitted to a local hospital before being transferred to Cho Ray Hospital.
Doctors said they tried to restore Phu’s facial tissues as much as possible.
A cartilage from her rib and skin from her arm were used to recreate her nose and graft in areas that had lost skin.
Dr Le Hanh of the hospital said the surgeons have to ensure she can breathe properly and connect nerves to the grafted skin.
“The surgery has been successful as of July 15. But she will have to undergo many more surgeries to recover as much of her face as possible.”
She would remain in the hospital for three months, he added.
The patient was happy with her face after the surgery: “Though my face is not like before, my family can recognize me now.”
Phu and her husband work as scrap materials traders.
The hospital has been raising money for her treatment.

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