WEST HILLS (CBSLA.com) – A Ugandan woman recovering from severe acid burns is getting ready to return home after undergoing half a dozen surgeries at the Grossman Burn Center in West Hills.
Christine Nakato, 22, was seriously disfigured when she came to Southern California in April. She said her partner’s former girlfriend doused her with battery acid.
“The biggest hope she had when she first went through the process, she believed that she was going to be better than she was before,” Nakato’s translator Lydia Natoolo said.
An American volunteer in Uganda and the Grossman Burn Foundation in West Hills raised money and made it possible for Nakato to come to the United States and get the surgeries she needed.
“For me, the toughest part was finding the balance of cosmetic and function. You can see the beauty not just within but now on the outside as well,” said surgeon Peter Grossman of the Grossman Burn Foundation.
Grossman was the lead surgeon in Nakato’s reconstructive surgeries. His team performed six operations on her face, breasts and arms. She also got a prosthetic eye and extensive facial tattooing.
What a difference the treatments and surgeries have made. Now, Nakato seems like a whole new person with a new lease on life. She appears to have gained new confidence on the inside after being transformed on the outside.
“I contoured actually everything. I did her eyebrows. The most important thing is to see some body come in, and at the end to give them a beautiful smile,” said Ruth Swissa, a medical tattoo technician.
Ocular surgeon Mark Baskin said: “The time constraints and her health issues, we did the best we could under the circumstances, and I’m very pleased for her.”
“She said that she’s so grateful to everyone who has helped her through this,” Nakato’s translator said.
With a new look and hope for the future, Nakato is heading home to Uganda. Her faith has helped her let go of the anger and focus on fighting for victims like her. But the most important thing she returns to will be her daughter, Tiana. “She’s just going to tell her she loves her so much,” the translator said.
“I love everyone. I love everyone,” Nakato said.