An Ethiopian woman who spent three months in a coma after suffering severe burns in a gas explosion in Abu Dhabi has been praised by doctors for her resilience as she left hospital following a year’s treatment
Domestic worker Nasriya Shure, 30, was engulfed in flames after using a match to light a stove while making breakfast for the family she was employed by at the time.
Ms Shure suffered third-degree burns covering nearly 90 per cent of her body in the accident in January 2023, which was believed to have been caused by a gas leak.
She said the force of the explosion caused the kitchen windows to shatter.
Ms Shure left Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City last week after a year of around-the-clock care.
“I don’t remember much,” she told The National. “I remember the glass shattering and then wondering why it was only me that was on fire.
“I didn’t understand what was happening. It was just me that was on fire. All of me and just me standing in the kitchen.”
Doctors at the Abu Dhabi hospital said it is rare for someone with such extensive injuries to survive.
“We struggled a lot with her, and it was with quite extensive efforts by a multidisciplinary team that involved so many people – from nurses to psychologists to plastic surgeons and intensivists,” said Dr Muhammad Riaz Khan, a burns surgery consultant at the hospital.
“However, thank God, we all managed in the end. It took a lot of effort from us and her as well. A majority of these patients don’t survive.”
He said artificial skin was required for areas around her joints, to allow for her to walk again.
“In most countries, she would have died,” said Dr Khan. “Initially, our biggest challenge and all we wanted was to keep her alive, and then once she was out of danger, our next challenge was to help her become independent and integrate her into society.”
Gruelling road to recovery
Katharina Fischbach, physiotherapist supervisor at Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, said getting Ms Shure back on her feet required a considerable effort from the medical team, as well as the patient herself.
“Every day of Nasriya’s often challenging journey, the entire multi-disciplinary team went above and beyond to co-ordinate her highly complex holistic medical, surgical, physical and psychological rehabilitation care to help her rise above the challenges and see a life of hope and opportunity in a future that looked daunting,” said Ms Fischbach.
“Every day was a careful balance of interventions, with all staff focused on Nasriya and team’s collaborative end goal of independent functional activities and mobility and returning home to her most important role as a mother to her two young children.”
Ms Fischbach said it was an emotional moment when Ms Shure, who has two children, walked out of the hospital after 12 months of intensive treatment.
“Last week, watching Nasriya walk out of the hospital, on the next step of her journey home and to her future back with her children was an incredibly emotional time for the hospital staff who have been alongside her, through the highs and lows, for the year it has taken to reach her goals of recovery from an around 89 per cent total body surface area burn injury.”