Future For Ho Tu Tu

By: Dan Ha


This is a translation of the article issued on Vietnamnet dated 18 December, 2004 at http://nguoivienxu.vietnamnet.vn/vongtaynhanai/2004/12/35761

Behind a glass partition, there was a little baby with face, head, body and two hands bandaged. She lied white bed while her mother was propping hands against the bed and endeavoring to give her the breast. Throughout the two months that I was watching this family and their young girl at the Vietnamese National Institute of Burn, I witnessed that situation together with endless love from a young couple spending on their child, exceptional courage of the baby and also a deep grief after-affect that a burn accident leaving on her body.

The little baby is Ho Tu Tu born on 1st December 2002 at Buon Me Thuot city, Daklak province, Vietnam. She was seriously burned when tripping onto a boiling soup pot in a kindergarten class in March 19, 2004. At that time Tu Tu was only on her 16th month of age. Unfortunately, the babysitter in that kindergarten hastily took the cloth off Tu Tu, pulled it over her head causing the burned outer skin of Tu Tu's chest and chin to come off with the cloth. Arriving at the National Institute of Burn in Hanoi after a long travel from Daklak Emergency Unit, Tu Tu was in the situation of high fever, low blood pressure, high plasma glucose level and electrolytes disturbance. With a little 16 month old baby, that injury was too serious, her life was on the line, but with the help of the doctors at NIB and others, Tu Tu was kept alive. Both arms and hands of this baby are disable, horrible scars are growing to be convex and rigid making muscles strained and especially fingers deformed. I was shock when Ms. Nguyen Thi Nu, mother of little Tu, disengaged the baby's bandage. The beautiful hands of my little baby have now become deformation pieces. I can not imagine how Tu Tu can live in the future with those hands but can not prevent a pain in my heart when Tu Tu blended down to pick snack by her mouth and smile.

During this time, I was confused how Tu Tu can still smile during the pain both emotionally and physically she has been suffering. Whenever Tu Tu was take to the bandage changing room, she curled up with panic. Tu Tu also had to experience 5 operations on necrosis excisions, xeno-graft and auto-grafts. As the grafts healed, Tu Tu had to work through the pain of recovery and rehabilitation. Whenever the nurses arrived to work with Tu Tu, she would burst into loud wails. I do not understand what Tu Tu's is thinking during the pain she goes through. I can only imagine what it must be for a little baby of 16th months old. Tu Tu has been able to teach us adults something. She is able to find the energy needed to keep on fighting the pain, moving her hands, smiling and laughing with us all. Maybe that strength comes from her parents. Every day I I spend 15 minutes bathing my child. Each day that is a very enjoyable time for both me and my child. On the other hand, Ms. Nu has to spend 1 and a half hour on bathing and changing the bandages on Tu Tu's burned body. Both the mother and the baby are on cry as Tu Tu suffer the pain each time mother has to perform wound care on the burned areas.

Currently, 6 month since Tu Tu was discharged from NIB, the injury of Tu Tu has healed. The trouble is the negative after-affects of the burn that is developing. The more she grows, the more her scalds convex and contract. She will need continuous excisions because of nerve and muscle contracture until she is at least 18 years of age. "I always think that is not true. The image of Tu Tu that I saw when I arrived the Emergency Unit made my heart broken. That feeling will never disappear in my mind", this confidence of Ms. Nu time-to-time obsess me.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Nu and Mr. Ho Quang Trung (father of Tu Tu) has got deeper and deeper into debt to provide medical treatment for their daughter. They need the community in sharing this difficulty. I wrote this article not only to share the pain of little Tu but also call for help from readers to the familly. Then, we can bring a brighter future for Tu Tu. Any of your assistance is highly appreciated and could be sent directly to Ms. Nguyen Thi Nu, Construction Company No. 507, Km 8, Highway 26, Tan Hoa ward, Buon Me Thuot city, Daklak province, Vietnam.