Neelakshi Sewwandi is being treated for drainage acid burns in Rashid Hospital Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai For Neelakshi Sewwandi, the past three weeks have been a burning hell — quite literally. But the 24-year-old Sri Lankan woman who is being treated for drainage acid burns in Rashid Hospital is determined to turn the corner.


Neelakshi suffered chemical burns after a can of drainage cleaning acid kept on the fridge in her Karama home tipped over and fell on her on April 21. The acid left her disfigured, scarring her head, face, chest and left hand.

"I want to recover fast and be with Deneth," she keeps telling everyone around her, the separation from her 10-month-old son whom she was still breastfeeding proving too much too bear.

She underwent a skin graft surgery for her scalp on Wednesday, her second operation since she was admitted to hospital, Prasad Priyadarshan, her husband, said.

"Her condition is stable and she is talking and walking around a bit." He said he and his wife are thankful for the support of XPRESS readers and the community following a report published on May 3 (see inset photo above). "A lot of people have been calling us, enquiring about her health and wanting to help."

A senior Sri Lankan community member said Neelakshi's accident has been an eye-opener for them.

"It is at times like these that we realise we need a full-fledged community forum. There are so many labourers and others from our community who need our help," he said.

Burns cases

As many as 34 people were admitted to Rashid Hospital with burn injuries this year, Dr Marwan Ahmad Al Zarouni, Head of Plastic Surgery Unit and Wound & Stoma Care Unit at Rashid Hospital, said. "We have had 24 non-ICU and 10 ICU burns cases between January and May this year, as against a total of 66 cases last year," he said. He said around 70 per cent of these cases were direct flame burns.

He said, "Administration of first aid is critical. First call 999. Then use room temperature water to cool the body for 15 minutes. Do not use water to douse flames rising out of a hot oil pan. Use a towel, blanket, sheet or curtain instead." If a child has ingested a chemical, he should be given water to drink. "The depth and width of the burn is reduced with water," he added.