hospital staff rushing through hallway
Jade Small
Jade Small
April 5, 2024 ·  3 min read

The remarkable story of Zubaida Hasa

Stories of burn victims are, unfortunately, not uncommon on the internet. They create uncomfortable feelings within us because we have such sympathy for the victim and fear it could happen to us as well. Today we have an unfortunate story about a fortunate little girl from Afghanistan. In 2001, Zubaida Hasa was a burn victim with such severe scars that she was sent across the world so experts could take on her case. Her story is truly inspiring. 

Zubaida Hasa melted

In 2001, Zubaida Hasa set out to cook some food in her family’s kitchen. Needing some heat to cook her food, she lit their gas hob. Suddenly, the gas exploded and burst into flames, engulfing Zubaida in the process. The fire was so intense it destroyed her skin. By the time they managed to get the fire out, her arms had melted into her body, and her face almost looked like it was dripping. 

Zubaida Hasa's burn scars were severe
Image credit: Twitter

They rushed her to a local hospital in the area where they lived in Afghanistan. The doctor treating her offered little hope for Zubaida Hasa’s parents. He said she had very little chance of survival and suggested they take her home to die in peace and comfort. This was simply not good enough for Zubaida’s father, he had to help his little girl. So, he took a chance and went to the US military hospital knowing full well they might turn him away because they do not treat civilians. 

When the doctors in the military saw Zubaida Hasa and they instantly wanted to help her. They could see how she was suffering, and their hearts yearned to ease her pain. They warned her father that she had little chance of surviving, but they would try their best. However, after the initial evaluation of her scars, they realized they were out of their depth. So, they flew Zubaida to America to be treated by burn experts and plastic surgeons. 

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Misfortune transforms

Once in the US, Zubaida Hasa was treated by a plastic surgeon called Dr. Peter Grossman. He is an expert in burn victims, having worked miracles in the past. Dr. Grossman took an immediate liking to Zubaida and marveled at her strength and resilience. He performed surgery after surgery on Zubaida. This included many skin grafts to restore her face to what it was, or at least as much as possible. 

Dr. Grossman invited Zubaida to live with him and his wife at their home while she recovered, and they formed a deep bond. They helped her learn English, which she mastered in 12 weeks. They even enrolled her at school where she made lots of friends. 

The true miracle of Zubaida Hasa 

One year after the tragic burn accident that nearly took Zubaida Hasa’s life, her wounds had completely healed, and her scars utterly transformed. Her doctors had enabled her to be able to smile again, an achievement not even dreamt of by the first doctor that treated her. Furthermore, she could sing, play guitar, and even dance! “The bandages had to be wrapped loosely because she would dance everywhere,” said Dr, Grossman’s wife, Rebecca.

Zubaida Hasa transformation
Image credit: Twitter

Zubaida’s story caught the attention Oprah, and she made an appearance on her show.  Though she was slightly overwhelmed by the audience, she had Dr. Grossman and Rebecca Grossman there for moral support. Oprah asked Zubaida, “You’re a miracle girl, do you know that?”

Zubaida Hasan was scheduled to return back to her parents and her eight brothers and sisters in Afghanistan. The Grossmans were concerned that she was going to miss out on all the opportunities she was getting used to in the states. So, they set up a foundation in her honor in the hopes to buy a house for her nomadic family. Furthermore, they hope to start a schoolhouse for the village she lived close to for all the kids to have better opportunities in life. Zubaida said her dream was now to become a pediatric doctor when she grows up.

Keep Reading: Patrick Hardison received a new face after third-degree burns, this is him today


  1. The remarkable story of Zubaida Hasan.Newsner. June 28, 2016
  2. “Badly Burned Girl Has Face Restored.ABC News. June 23, 2003.