Meet Our Patients (40): U Aung Min’s Story – Landmine Survivor

U Aung Min is 40-year-old and lives in Karen state, Burma. A few months ago, he was walking in the forest at night, when he stepped on a landmine and lost one of his legs. He was sent to a clinic in Hpa An immediately and admitted to the clinic for 8 days. But he requested to be discharged because he could not afford the increasing medical bills…

 

To respect U Aung Min’s privacy, we blurred his face.

U Aung Min is 40-year-old and lives in Karen state[1], Burma/Myanmar. He works as a soldier[2], making around 150,000 Myanmar Kyat (USD 111) monthly. He has two children, who both dropped out of school in order to work to support his family. His wife and children are working as daily workers. They stay in Karen state, in a village with approximately 1,000 households. U Aung Min has been working in the field for over 8 years. Due to his job requirements, he has not been able to spend enough time with his family.

A few months ago, he was walking in the forest at night, when he stepped on a landmine and lost one of his legs. He was sent to a clinic in Hpa An[3] immediately. He was admitted to the clinic for 8 days. He requested to be discharged because he could not afford the increasing medical bills. He heard that Mae Sot General Hospital (MSGH) in Thailand provides initial treatment free of charge to landmine survivors, so he decided to come to Mae Sot.[4] He was admitted for 24 days, receiving intensive treatment and physical therapy. Upon discharge, his doctor at MSGH suggested that he should go to Mae Tao Clinic to receive necessary treatment for his wounds and return to Mae Sot General Hospital monthly for a check-up.

Now, U Aung Min has been admitted to Mae Tao Clinic’s Surgical Inpatient Department (IPD) for a month. Surgical IPD staff regularly change his bandages and provide necessary medicines. During his stay at Mae Tao Clinic, his pain got mitigated and his family heaved a sigh of relief. He is not sure when he can get a prosthetic leg. All he hopes is to eventually go back to his village.

To respect U Aung Min’s privacy, we blurred his face.

“Without Mae Sot General Hospital and Mae Tao Clinic, I might have suffered longer because I could not afford the medical bills back in Burma. Mae Tao Clinic staff have been taking good care of me. They treat all patients equal no matter whether people have money or not. Without Mae Tao Clinic’s support, it must be hard for me to go back and forth to get the treatment at MSGH. I really appreciate what the clinic has provided to me.”


According to the Landmine Monitor Report 2016, ‘Myanmar/Burma has produced many mine casualties for decades. When compared globally, over the past decade, Myanmar/Burma has the third highest total of mine victims combined across years.’ Especially eastern Burma, where is located along the Thailand-Burma/Myanmar border is believed to be one of the most landmine-contaminated places in the world.
Mae Tao Clinic monthly cares for around 13 people who need prosthetic services.


[1] Karen State is a state of Myanmar. It is bordered by Thailand to the east. Majority of refugees and migrants along the Thai-Burma border are from Karen State.

[2] To respect U Aung Min’s privacy, we do not display the name or position of the armed group he is fighting with. Neither can we disclose the village he is from.

[3] Hpa-An is the capital of Karen State, Burma/Myanmar. The population of Hpa-An as of the 2014 census is 421,575. Most of the people in Hpa-An are of the Karen ethnic group [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hpa-An]

[4] Mae Sot is a city in western Thailand that shares a border with Burma to the west. It is notable as a trade hub and for its substantial population of Burmese migrants and refugees. Mae Tao Clinic is located in Mae Sot [Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mae_Sot]