A HUMBLE HEALER July 2012 – YOU Magazine

Plastic surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia performed
the historic skin graft on Pippie Kruger. It’s been an emotional journey for both him and the little girl’s family
By JACO HOUGH-COETZEE

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HE’S a modest man, say those who know him, and the moment you meet him it’s clear that’s true. Dr Ridwan Mia, the surgeon who has given Pippie Kruger new skin on almost her entire body, is quick to say he’s no hero, just an ordinary doctor who’s glad everything has gone well.
Modest indeed. at 36 he has not only made medical history with the first cloned skin graft in South Africa, he has also given Pippie (3) a second chance at a normal, happy life. The little girl sustained third-degree burns over 80 per cent of her body when she was engulfed in flames after a bottle of firelighter gel exploded at a family braai.
The real hero of the story is Pippie’s mother, Anicè, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Mia says. after he saw the little girl’s appalling injuries on New Year’s Eve he prepared Anicè for the worst: Pippie was hanging on by a thread. “But she [Anicè] kept looking for a solution until she found one. She’s one of the few people I know who doesn’t give up hope.”
Anicè spent nights on the internet looking for an answer – and she found it: a medical laboratory in Boston in America that can use a scrap of healthy skin from a burn victim to clone new skin for grafting.
On Dr Mia’s desk at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Sandton is a special memento: a metal tin with a transparent lid. It’s one of the 41 tins in which Pippie’s cloned skin was flown from America to Johannesburg.
He’s just grateful he could be one of the links in a long medical chain, he says.
“No, I never thought it would be a ‘first’. I was thinking about the upcoming opera

HE’S a modest man, say those who know him, and the moment you meet him it’s clear that’s true. Dr Ridwan Mia, the surgeon who has given Pippie Kruger new skin on almost her entire body, is quick to say he’s no hero, just an ordinary doctor who’s glad everything has gone well.
Modest indeed. at 36 he has not only made medical history with the first cloned skin graft in South Africa, he has also given Pippie (3) a second chance at a normal, happy life. The little girl sustained third-degree burns over 80 per cent of her body when she was engulfed in flames after a bottle of firelighter gel exploded at a family braai.
The real hero of the story is Pippie’s mother, anicè, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Mia says. after he saw the little girl’s appalling injuries on New Year’s Eve he prepared Anicè for the worst: Pippie was hanging on by a thread. “But she [Anicè] kept looking for a solution until she found one. She’s one of the few people I know who doesn’t give up hope.”
Anicè spent nights on the internet looking for an answer – and she found it: a medical laboratory in Boston in America that can use a scrap of healthy skin from a burn victim to clone new skin for grafting.
On Dr Mia’s desk at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital in Sandton is a special memento:
a metal tin with a transparent lid. It’s one of the 41 tins in which Pippie’s cloned skin was
flown from America to Johannesburg. He’s just grateful he could be one of the links in a long medical chain, he says. “No, I never thought it would be a ‘first’. I was thinking about the upcoming opera