SEATTLE, July 22, 2004 -- After more than eight months of planning, Sushila K.C. Nepali -- an 8-year-old burn victim and orphan -- arrived in Seattle this afternoon for extensive plastic surgery -- a process that is expected to take at least three months before she is able to return home to her native country.
At the age of 3, Sushila fell into a cooking fire and burned nearly one-third of her body. The skin on her entire right torso is now unable to expand or grow with her because of deep scaring. This is causing abnormal growth development as the left side of her torso develops normally. As a result, her right shoulder is being held lower by the scarred tissue - and the longer this condition exists, the more serious it will become. While this condition can be routinely addressed with corrective surgery, this type of procedure is not available to Sushila in Nepal.
In October 2003, local real-estate agent, Lorna Arnold, traveled to Nepal on a vacation to volunteer for several weeks at a refuge for abandoned and underprivileged children in Katmandu, Nepal, which is supported by a California-based nonprofit called Ama Foundation. It was during this trip that she met and befriended Sushila. Upon Lorna's return to the United States, she decided to take it upon herself to arrange this needed surgery for Sushila. Through exhaustive efforts, she and others secured Sushila's first birth certificate, a required letter from the Ministry of Women and Children in Nepal, Nepalese passport and U.S. travel visa, round-trip airfare and an escort to accompany her from Katmandu and upon her return, as well as a comprehensive plan to help care for Sushila during her lengthy stay.
Seattle hand and plastic surgeon Alfred Blue, M.D. has volunteered to perform the corrective surgeries and Swedish Medical Center has volunteered to provide for the radiology, anesthesiology, rehabilitation and all other related materials and services related to the surgeries.
After arriving today, Sushila has an appointment tomorrow to meet with Dr. Blue for the first time at his office on the Swedish/First Hill Campus.
- To read the transcript of a story KIRO Television (channel 7; CBS) aired about this story during their 5 p.m. news on July 22, click here.