43 Years Later, 'Napalm Girl's' Pain Could End

Kim Phuc is finally getting treatment that could offer relief
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2015 4:26 AM CDT
Updated Oct 26, 2015 6:33 AM CDT
Vietnam 'Napalm Girl' Gets New Treatment
In this Sept. 25, 2015, photo, Kim Phuc poses for a photo at a hotel in Miami. Phuc arrived from her home in Canada to undergo a series of laser treatments.   (AP Photo/Nick Ut)

Some 43 years after a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo made her the world's most famous napalm victim, Kim Phuc is finally getting treatment that could end the pain. Phuc, who was 9 when AP photographer Nick Ut captured her running down a road in Vietnam naked and screaming in pain, has begun laser treatments at a clinic in Miami that dermatologists say will take away the scars that cover much of her body, as well as the chronic pain caused by scarred nerve endings. "So many years I thought that I have no more scars, no more pain when I'm in heaven," Phuc, who's now a Canadian citizen and lives near Toronto, tells the AP. "But now—heaven on earth for me."

Phuc needed 17 operations in the months after the June 1972 napalm attack. "What we know about scars is they're all wrong; it's just chaotic healing," dermatologist Jill Waibel tells CBS News. "So we're going to take out pieces, teeny pieces of skin with this fractional laser and then allow the body to heal it almost to normal." For the first treatment, Phuc was accompanied by her husband and by Ut, who put her in his van and took her to a hospital after witnessing the napalm attack near Saigon. "He's the beginning and the end," she tells the AP. ''He took my picture and now he'll be here with me with this new journey, new chapter." (A newly released note reveals that Richard Nixon was lying about the effectiveness of the bombing campaign in Vietnam.)

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