Hu Sok Vuthy, the seventeen-year-old survivor of the night market fire in December 2012 is going from strength to strength and is now fully mobile, according to Warehouse beverage manager Geert Vanbaelen, who helped organise funds to aid Vuthy’s recovery.
But the sadness of the tragedy still lingers, with Vuthy and his family attending the final burial of the mother last Saturday, July 20.
Vanbaelen reported that while Vuthy was just able to stand for brief moments back in April, he is now sitting, standing and walking unaided.
Vanbaelen said. “He is doing quite well and has good mobility. He has talked to his school, and he will take his final high school exams in August. Even though he missed half a year, he might still be capable of passing. He then wants to go to university.”
Although Vuthy was scheduled to fly to Boston for treatment at the Shriners Hospital for Children, it was deemed unnecessary as doctors at Ho Chi Minh City’s Cho Ray Hospital did such a good job that Vuthy no longer needs skin grafts.
“There is still a lot of rehabilitation to be done, but since his skin is still ‘alive’ and healing slowly, he doesn’t need surgery for now,” says Vanbaelen. “It is better for him to exercise and stretch it by himself to avoid a lot of scars in future.
“In December, two French burn specialists are coming to the Children’s Surgical Centre in Phnom Penh. We will see then about reconstructive surgery.”
Vuthy’s fourteen-year-old brother, Vatha, is fit and well having fully recovered from burns to his hands and feet.
Vanbaelen said that they were awaiting confirmation from a Siem Reap NGO who will assist Vuthy with physiotherapy and various activities.
Vuthy was dubbed the “miraculous survivor” following the fire on December 8 in which he suffered near-fatal third-degree burns to 60 per cent of his body, after spending two and a half hours trapped inside his home. Both Vuthy’s parents and three-year-old sister died in the fire which killed eight people.