‘Napalm girl’ Phan Thi Kim Phuc receives final burn treatment after 50 years

Phan Thi Kim Phuc, whose photograph became a symbol of the horrors of the Vietnam war, has had her final skin treatment with a burn specialist, 50 years after her village was struck by napalm.

Phuc was photographed aged nine as she ran, unclothed and screaming in agony, after napalm was dropped by a South Vietnamese Skyraider attack aircraft. Nick Ut, the photographer who captured the image in June 1972, drove her away to find medical treatment.

Phuc spent more than a year in hospital recovering from her injuries, and has lived with continual pain and limited movement. This week she underwent her 12th and final round of laser treatment at the Miami Dermatology and Laser Institute, NBC 6 South Florida reported.

In Miami, she also met Ut, who was awarded the Pulitzer prize for the image, which he took aged 21, and whom she credits with saving her life.

She said she wished everyone could “live with love, hope and forgiveness, and if everyone can learn to live like that we don’t need war at all”.

Phuc has described having hated the photograph, and feeling ugly and ashamed for being pictured naked. Her clothes had been torched from her body. In the years after the attack, she felt suicidal as she lived with mental trauma and excruciating physical pain.

She moved to Canada in the 1990s and went on to establish Kim Foundation International, which offers medical assistance, including psychological support, to children affected by war.

In an interview with CBC last month, she said: “I am not a victim of war any more. I am a survivor. I feel like 50 years ago, I was a victim of war but 50 years later, I was a friend, a helper, a mother, a grandmother and a survivor calling out for peace.”

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