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September 29, 2022



Czech Republic: Romani burn victim undergoes anesthesia almost 100 times, more surgery ahead

Budišov nad Budišovkou (Opava district), 4.2.2012 21:00, (ROMEA)
PHOTO: Repro Česká televize

Natálie Siváková (age 5) is gradually recovering from injuries she suffered in April 2009 when she became the victim of an attack by the neo-Nazis since known as the Vítkov arsonists. Last October, physicians performed reconstruction of her fingers and right forearm, which she had been almost entirely unable to use because of scar tissue from the burns. A Czech Television report says she is now awaiting an operation on her neck and underarms.

The child is not permitted outside due to the current severe frost in the region. "Scar tissue is more sensitive than healthy skin, it dries out faster and might crack," Iva Zámečníková, deputy head physician at Ostrava Teaching Hospital's Burn Center told Czech Television.

The surgery the girl will undergo next at the burn center will be almost her 20th in a row. "She isn't leaning her head back correctly, so they [the doctors] will do her neck and underarms. I am very afraid," Natálie's mother Anna Siváková told Czech Television. Her daughter has been under anesthesia approximately 100 times already.

Doctors fixed the scar on the girl's neck during her last operation at the start of October 2011. At that time a specialist in hand surgery, Alena Schmoranzová, operated on her index finger and forearm, which the girl had been unable to move because of the scars. "Before she couldn't use it at all," Anna Siváková confirmed. "Now she's found out it's better and she uses it all the time," Siváková told Czech Television, adding that her daughter still has to wear special orthotics on the finger.

Natálie was injured during the early morning hours of 19 April 2009 during a racially motivated arson attack committed by four neo-Nazis on her family's home. The court has sentenced perpetrators David Vaculík and Jaromír Lukeš to 22 years in prison, while Václav Cojocaru and Ivo Müller got 20-year sentences for racially motivated attempted murder and vandalism.

Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Television, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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