UK-Based Doctor Gives Indian Acid Attack Victims Free Surgery

Viva was in India recently in collaboration with NGO Interplast to do free surgeries on victims of acid attacks.

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Charles Viva, UK-Based plastic surgeon (Photo:<i>BBC</i>)

For Charles Viva, a UK-based plastic surgeon who has spent decades stitching together the disfigured and burnt bodies of acid attack victims across the globe, often for free, the presence of strong laws act as deterrents against perpetrators of the inhuman crime.

Viva, a retired NHS doctor of Sri Lankan origin was in New Delhi recently with a volunteer team of surgeons and clinicians from the UK chapter of the global NGO Interplast to undertake free reconstructive surgeries on victims of burns and acid attacks.

The effect of acid attacks causes the same amount of trauma to victims in every country be it in India, UK or anywhere else in the world. However, we have very strict laws where if somebody throws acid they are definitely put behind bars for 10 to 15 years. So there is a strong deterrent.
Charles Viva, UK-Based Plastic Surgeon

According to a spokesperson at the W Pratiksha Hospital in Gurgaon, where the surgeries took place, the team from London performed over 30 surgeries on burn, acid and cleft-lip victims from the economically weaker section.

The project titled ‘Project Revive’ received support from the Acid Survivor Foundation of India (ASFI) and the NGO Ritinjali. Among those who were operated upon was 30-year-old Anupama from Bihar, a 7-year-old boy who slipped and fell on acid while playing in his home.

People should be made aware of the steps in case of attacks. If immediate attention is given to a patient, the results can be better. Patients who live in remote areas do not have access to proper care but in other countries also the situation is exactly the same because they don’t know how to deal with it.

The NGO ASFI had last year launched a Global Trauma Informed Care Kit (TICK), a guidebook of information with emergency phone numbers and pointers on what to do besides information on legal help for survivors.

The organisation estimates that the northern part of the country has the highest incidents of acid violence, accounting for 58 percent of the attacks with the eastern part of the country accounting for 18 percent, followed by that in the west at 16 per cent and the southern region at 8 percent.

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