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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June 2005, 15:25 GMT 16:25 UK
'Her life was turned upside down'
Sundeep Hunjan - copyright Times newspaper/Jack Hill
Sundeep was looking forward to her wedding before the attack
Surgeons at a leading UK burns centre are treating a Kenyan woman who experienced horrific injuries in an acid attack.

Sundeep Hunjan, 23, from Nairobi was driving home from work with her father in February when they were attacked.

She suffered extensive scarring on her face and neck - her eyelids were so damaged she cannot close her eyes.

Sundeep is being treated at the McIndoe Surgical Centre in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

Her sight was saved because she has Bell's phenomenon, a tendency to roll the eyeball upwards as she tries to close her eyelids, which has helped protect her eyes by keeping them moist.

Without this, her corneas would have dried out and become ulcerated, which would have led to her losing her sight.

However, she still needs operations to repair her damaged eyelids.

'Just the start'

In the first of these, carried out on Monday night, doctors used a skin graft to replace the lower eyelids, and to treat the heavy scarring on her neck.

Sundeep will undergo a second operation next week where a second skin graft will be used to replace her upper eye lid.

Sundeep Hunjan having an eye check - copyright Times newspaper/Jack Hill
Sundeep will have to undergo many operations

She is likely to need many more operations over the next two years.

At the time of the attack, she was looking forward to her wedding, planned for April this year.

Her uncle, Jit Panesar, who lives in the UK and who brought her from Kenya for treatment, told the BBC News website: "She was so much looking forward to life, and the whole thing was turned upside down in minutes.

"The attack was completely unforeseen and unprovoked."

He said her fiancé was keeping in close touch with Sundeep from his home in Kenya.

"He has been very supportive, and is standing by her."

Sundeep's case was brought to the attention of Mr Raman Malhotra, a consultant ophthalmic and oculoplastic surgeon at the McIndoe Centre, who also works at the Queen Victoria NHS Foundation Trust.

He said: "I was shocked when I saw the pictures of her. She was so beautiful, and had been so severely injured.

"The first thing we needed to do was help her close her eyes. But this was just the start of the operations she will need."

Sundeep wanted to know if she will look like she did before the attack.

Mr Malhotra said: "We have made it clear. She will never be the same, but she can definitely look better."

Sundeep's uncle said her first operation had gone well and she was resting in hospital.

The total cost of her treatment is likely to be around £100,000. Her family need to raise around £50,000 from community events.

However, the McIndoe Burns Support Group is collecting money to help Sundeep. The telephone helpline for credit and debit card payments is 0870 0818000.


SEE ALSO:
No-scar skin graft promise
27 Nov 02 |  Health
New hope for burns victims
29 Jun 01 |  Health


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