Oscars Honor Surgeon who Treats Acid Attack Victims in Pakistan

Oscar AwardThe glittering world of the Academy Awards is certainly no stranger to plastic surgery. But the benefits extend far beyond the techniques of liposuction and breast augmentation, and this year at the Oscars will see a representative of the less-known side of the profession. London plastic surgeon Mohammad Jawad will walk the red carpet as the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary called Saving Face.

For years, Dr. Jawad has made regular trips to his native Pakistan to treat victims of acid attacks, which often take place in cases of domestic violence. As Jawad told the London Evening Standard in a recent interview: “Doing this kind of work, I feel I’m trying to restore the trust and build the confidence of ordinary people that plastic surgery is a very noble and gifted profession.”

American filmmaker Daniel Junge followed Dr. Jawad to Pakistan and documented his noble work in treating acid attack victims. Tragic and grotesque as it sounds, acid attacks are a surprisingly widespread problem in Pakistan, and the film also features the work of Islamabad-based NGO Acid Survivors Foundation of Pakistan. The act of hurling acid at a victim’s face has lifelong repercussions, with horrendous disfigurements, serious physical harm, psychological trauma, and social ostracism. Most of the victims are women.

Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of people like Dr. Jawad, many Pakistanis suffering from the effects of acid attacks are able to find new life with facial reconstruction surgery. In 2010, Pakistan’s Parliament enacted legislation that made acid violence punishable by life imprisonment. You can learn more about efforts to staunch acid attacks at the ASF website. People watching the Academy Awards on February 26 should watch for Saving Face in the category Best Documentary, Short Subject.

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