Phan Thao, a 3-year-old Vietnamese girl with third degree burns on all over her small body, had already been through 14 surgeries in the past four months before coming aboard the USNS Mercy for a high-tech Laser Scar Revision surgery.
HOPE volunteer, Julie Porucznik, a registered Surgical Nurse from San Diego, California who has been participating in the Pacific Partnership 2012 mission aboard the massive hospital ship since May, knew just what to do to ease the young patient’s anxiety.
She got out the bubbles.
“I have gained the reputation of the “Bubble Queen” of the surgery department,” Porucznik said.
The sight of the delicate color-swirled bubbles floating through the air and a few well-placed stickers on Thao’s small body brought a lot of cheer, some warm smiles and the knowledge that Porucznik had won the trust of her little patient.
"Thao had traumatic burns on her hands, legs, her back and a little of her face," said Porucznik. "During the surgery, we tried to release some of the bands of skin in key movement areas."
“It was great to bring a little bit of happiness to a child that has seen a fair amount of pain,” Porucznik added.
Thao is recovering nicely, and will go through some physical therapy aboard the USNS Mercy, which is sure to also include more of Porucznik’s bubble therapy.
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