DUBAI: Eighty per cent burns, 20 surgeries and three resusciations later, Dubai-based Emirati Rafiya Mourad Yousuf, 41, has survived to tell the tale.
Still recovering from the horrific burns she sustained while burning Bakhor (oudh) one night at her home in 2017, Rafiya is out to share her story in the hope that others can learn from her grave mistake
Narrating her struggle exclusively through Gulf News, Rafiya said on Thursday, “I will never ever burn Bakhor in a charcoal pot again. I learnt this lesson the hard way and stand here to tell other women, life is too precious. Don’t burn frankincense in your room. It not only causes asthma but can cost you your life. Use traditional oudh-based sprays, but don’t risk such horrific burns.”
I will never ever burn Bakhor in a charcoal pot again. I learnt this lesson the hard way and stand here to tell other women, life is too precious. Don’t burn frankincense in your room. It not only causes asthma but can cost you your life.
Vividly recollecting the night of December 17, 2017, Rafiya said she was alone in her bedroom at her Al Warqa apartment and had lit a few charcoals in a pot on which she placed traditional frankincense.
“It’s a traditional Emirati practice to let the fragrant smoke waft into your surroundings and clothes. I had placed a few of my clothes next to the pot and was sitting close by too.”
Suddenly, the charcoal fire turned into a blazing inferno, Rafiya said, adding that the synthetic fabric on her stuck to her body.
What followed was complete shock as Rafiya, crying in pain, was rushed to the hospital emergency in a barely conscious state.
A team of plastic surgeons, led by Dr Zahra Refaei and a well-coordinated team of nurses, worked with Rafiya who over the next year underwent 20 surgeries and had to be resuscitated three times during her stay at Rashid Hospital.
She underwent intensive physical and psychological rehabilitation. In six months, she was able to get out of the hospital for a few hours to attend her daughter’s graduation ceremony. But it was not until July 2018, eight months after the accident, that she could walkout of the hospital, using her feet and hands.
Having emerged stronger after the harrowing experience, Rafiya is determined to live life to is fullest. But she continues her treatment as an outpatient.
“I am indebted to Dr Zahra, the nurses and the entire medical team for taking such good care of me,” she said.
More details to follow