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Iconic 'Napalm Girl' From Vietnam War Gets Final Burns Treatment

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Iconic 'Napalm Girl' From Vietnam War Gets Final Burns Treatment

Warning: This article contains an image some may find distressing

The woman from the 'Napalm Girl' photo just reached a major milestone by having her final burns treatment.

Kim Phuc Phan Thi was just nine years old when she became the subject of the Pulitzer Prize winning picture, which remains a key symbol of the horrors of the Vietnam war.

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Now 59 – five decades since the napalm attack on her village – Phan Thi has undergone the last laser procedure to treat the burns she sustained from the bombing.

The powerful moment was shared by Miami Dermatology & Laser, where she has been attending for sessions with Dr Jill Waibel for the past few years.

Alongside the iconic image, the dermatology centre posted a picture of Phan Thi receiving the treatment, with the post stating: "Today we welcomed back Kim Phuc, the girl from the historical Napalm photo taken by Vietnamese photographer @utnicky.

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"This month marked 50 years since this photo was taken. Today we celebrated her and her beautiful life. Kim received laser treatment by Dr Waibel to help her scars and pain."

CBS News spoke to the medical professional about the procedure, which she's been performing pro bono for the woman she sees as a symbol of 'peace and hope'.

Kim Phuc Phan Thi received her final laser treatment this week. Credit: Instagram/@miamidermlaser
Kim Phuc Phan Thi received her final laser treatment this week. Credit: Instagram/@miamidermlaser

She said: "The main laser is a fractional blade laser, and it vaporizes the scar tissue.

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"So I always say it's like boiling water on the stove, it literally steams it up but they're the tiniest holes the human body has ever seen, and the human body is able to heal that."

For Phan Thi, it's been a long journey towards recovery, and while her scars are healed she will never forget the moment that led to the photo.

"Of course we as children were just allowed to play nearby the bomb shelter inside of the temple courtyard," she told CBS News.

"Then, I remember after lunch, the South Vietnamese soldiers yell for the children to run. And I look up I saw the airplane and 4 bombs landing like that."

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Speaking about the moment the napalm hit her skin, she recalled: "I still remember what I thought that moment, oh my goodness I got burned then I will be ugly, then people will see me a different way."

As she ran, AP photographer Nick Ut took the photo before stopping to help Phan Thi by pouring water on her and taking the children to a nearby hospital.

"To be honest he saved my life, and he became a part of my family," Phan Thi added.

Dr Jill Waibel says Phan Thi represents 'peace and hope'. Credit: Alamy
Dr Jill Waibel says Phan Thi represents 'peace and hope'. Credit: Alamy
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Although she initially felt embarrassed by the photo, she learned to embrace the strength and encouragement it gave to others.

The Canadian resident has since launched The Kim Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to help children who are victimised by war.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

Topics: News, World News, Health, Mental Health, Life

Daisy Phillipson
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