A few months ago, Suraya’s father came home and began making tea in a kettle. Her father works long hours and moments to relax and spend time with his family are rare. Suraya and her family live in one room which includes the bathroom, kitchen and bedroom. While her father was playing with Suraya, she hit the tea pot by accident and boiling tea landed on her neck, chest, hands and abdomen, badly burning her.
Her family was startled by the incident and rushed to find help. At first all the family was able to provide for their daughter was first aid, but the burns proved too severe.
After the family attempted to treat her burns with first aid from the pharmacy, they reached out to an organization, who treated her at a hospital in the north of Lebanon. After 22 days, Suraya was discharged from the hospital - as the organization could no longer cover the expenses. The family were desperate for help, and didn’t know who to turn to.
“Our little chubby girl, who loved to eat and play with her father, had become totally different,” her mother told us. “Now she doesn’t like to play and barely eats.” Alongside this, the burns on her neck severely restrict her mobility.
The family were put in touch with INARA by the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS). At this point, her burns were acute and needed time to heal before any kind of surgical intervention could take place. Our team of doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) told the family in early July that she will need to wear a garment for the next three months in order to ensure she is ready for her surgery.
After those three months, Suraya will likely be ready for a scar revision surgery on her neck to help free up her movement, along with another surgery on the burns on her arms.
How the family came to Lebanon
As the civil war in Syria began to intensify, the job economy was uncertain, and so Suraya’s father went to Lebanon to seek employment. During this time, the area Suraya’s mother and rest of the family were living in was regularly ravaged by airstrikes and fighting on the ground.
The family’s situation in Syria had become so desperate that they realized they couldn’t stay any longer. It was better for them to live as refugees in another country than for them to remain where they were, fearing for their lives.
Refugee life in Lebanon, however, is hard. It is not uncommon to find families crowded in one-room apartments in urban dwellings that are sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter. Many families live in tents in the countryside. Wherever the families are located, poor health and living conditions have become the standard, and burn accidents, like the one Suraya is suffering from, have become commonplace.
Suraya is now wearing her garment, and her road to recovery seems much brighter. Although her parents know their daughter’s future, and theirs, is uncertain, they still have high hopes for their little daughter. “I wish her the best, I hope we all go back to Syria so she can start her education and become a doctor.”