In the photograph, she was burned and screaming in pain in the midst of the Vietnam War. Fifty years after an American bombing raid changed her life forever, the same woman has had her final skin treatment.
In 1972, a photojournalist captured the moment the then nine-year-old Kim Phuc Phan Thi was seen running down a road with her body scalded and her clothes torched from her body, following a napalm strike.
The picture won a Pulitzer Prize for Associated Press photographer Nick Ut.
This photo of nine-year-old Kim Phuc Phan Thi earned her the nickname “Napalm Girl.” Now, Ms. Phan Thi, 59, has received her final skin treatment after decades of pain from the intense scarring on her torso.
Her wounds were so severe that immediately following the attack, doctors thought she would not survive. However, after more than a year of treatment, her condition stabilized.
She eventually recovered from her injuries and lived in Vietnam until 1992 before moving to Canada with her husband, where she continues to live to this day.
She has, however, continued to suffer from pain and began specialized treatments with Dr. Jill Zwaibel in Miami several years ago, work which the surgeon agreed to perform free of charge.
Napalm girl: I am a survivor calling for peace
“Now 50 years later, I am no longer a victim of war, I am not the Napalm girl, now I am a friend,…a helper, I’m a grandmother and now I am a survivor calling out for peace,” Phan Thi told CBS recently, as she marked fifty years since the day she was injured.
In the interview with the US network, Ms. Phan Thi recalled that she was playing with other children when Vietnamese soldiers told her to run.
“And I look up [and] saw the airplane and four bombs landing like that,” she said.
“Too hot! Too hot!” she screamed while running away from her burning village.
“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,” she recalled saying.
Mr. Ut’s image was featured on the front page of The New York Times the following day, and he still keeps in touch with Ms. Phan Thi.