This past January, 24-year-old Amanda Morris was doing what millions of other New Yorkers do every day—walking to work. When she got within about a half of block from her job in Chelsea, a stranger ran up to her and did the unthinkable: slashed her on the side of the face in what was a completely random attack.
Morris made it to work, called 911 and headed to the hospital, where she received seven stitches to close inch-long wounds above and below her lips, as well as on her nose.
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Soon after, Morris set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for her medical expenses, future surgeries and anything that would lend her a hand to “get her back on her feet.” Thanks to the kindness of New York dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali, MD, Morris received cutting-edge treatments that completely transformed her face. Six months have since passed, and Morris and Dr. Bhanusali recently spoke with us about the steps they took to rebuild.
Dr. Bhanusali: “When I first heard of the slashing, I was immediately heartbroken. The incident occurred only a few blocks away and I kept thinking about the young staff in our office and how it could have happened to any of them. I had been reading the reports online and stumbled across Amanda’s GoFundMe page. The thought of her having to worry about paying for treatments after such a horrible tragedy seemed ridiculous. She had enough to deal with and I thought reaching out and offering to help was the right thing to do.”
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Morris: “After the attack happened, I knew it would scar—they told me that when I got my stitches done, but I didn’t think I would ever be able to properly treat the scars because I couldn’t afford it. I thought my only realistic option would be to accept that this is what I’ll have to see when I look in the mirror every day.”
Dr. Bhanusali: “Amanda came in a few days after her sutures had been removed. She told us the events that had occurred and how her recovery had been going. She seemed to still be processing what had happened and was understandably nervous. We had a long talk about what to expect and the treatment process as a whole. As a physician and more so as a human being, it was admittedly difficult to hear her story and not be moved by it. It’s something I will never forget.”
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Morris: “I was so nervous at first because I didn’t know what to expect. It’s funny meeting people who already know who you are but you don’t know them. Right away I noticed how down to earth and kind Dr. Bhanusali was, plus his medical training/background was so impressive that I was in good hands.”
Dr. Bhanusali: “I started by injecting some of the raised areas with kenalog and recontouring the nose with a scalpel to reestablish the natural curvature. I then treated her with the Limelight IPL (by Cutera) to treat the erythema (redness) and started her on CE Ferulic by SkinCeuticals to help nurture the healing process and stimulate collagen. I am now retexturing the area with Laser Genesis (by Cutera) to improve the feel of the area and get it to the point where it is essentially no longer visible. I utilize a technique called D.A.P.T. treatment (Device Assisted Precision Therapy), which utilizes dermatological devices to better deliver precision topical mixtures into the skin. The topicals vary on a person-by-person basis and are carefully selected to ensure maximal improvement.”
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Morris: “I’m pretty squeamish with needles and things, but he made me feel very comfortable right away and I had no problem going back for treatments after that. He even said he would call his assistant in to hold my hand if I needed it!”
Dr. Bhanusali: “In the last few years, there have numerous breakthroughs in laser therapy. From cosmetic rejuvenation to difficult-to-treat scars, there are many more options than ever before. For people battling scars from trauma or other causes, there is now hope. It’s important to get treatment sooner rather than later and remember that while it may take a while, it will get better.”
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Morris: “Something Marla Hansen told me was to embrace that your life has changed, the old you is gone and you will have to find yourself again. I was ready to accept that I would possibly live with a reminder of a difficult time in my life on my face forever, but thanks to amazing advancements in skin care, you do have other options. I am so fortunate to have met Dr. Bhanusali and feel very happy. I truly believe everything happens for a reason.”