Poe Kaw Moo

Poe Kaw Moo

Poe Kaw Moo

Saw Poe Kaw Moo comes from a remote area in Karen State, Burma. His family, like most Karen families in Burma, provides for their livelihood through subsistence farming. They grow rice and all the food needed to feed their family of 8 for the year.

In August of 2013, Poe Kaw Moo’s father was boiling food for their pigs over a fire. Poe Kaw Moo and some other children were playing next to the fire when the vat slipped off of its stand and poured the boiling liquid over his head and the right side of his body.

Poe Kaw Moo’s family took him to the nearest clinic, about 6 hours walk from the family’s house. In Karen State there are very few hospitals and doctors. In the clinic, medics took care of his wounds as best as they could for 2 weeks. After that amount of time the family needed to return to their farm to plant their rice fields. His family continued to treat his burns with a traditional remedy of boiled tree sap which they applied to the wounds.

Four months later one of the Free Burma Ranger teams visited Poe Kaw Moo’s village. The doctor that was accompanying the team met Poe Kaw Moo and examined him. More than half of his burns had healed but the deeper, more severe ones remained. Specifically, over the back of his skull there were deep burns and the skull was visible. Because he hadn’t been moving his joints very much as he was healing, he was starting to get contractures of his right shoulder and elbow. At that point it was decided that he should be transferred to the Jungle School of Medicine – Kawthoolei for further evaluation and wound care.

Poe Kaw Moo and his father spent 6 weeks at JSMK. During this time he was provided with better nutrition and specialized wound care. It became apparent that some of his burns were too deep to heal on their own and would require skin grafts.

When it appeared that Poe Kaw Moo’s wounds were at an appropriate stage for grafting he was transferred to Maharaj Nakorn Hospital’s burn unit. His father accompanied him from the village to JSMK and finally to the hospital. Poe Kaw Moo spent 3 months in the burn unit at Maharaj Nakorn Hospital. His first skin grafts were performed in early February on his right side and scalp. The grafts on his chest healed well but, unfortunately, the ones on his scalp did not ‘take’ and had to be repeated. Spending all day, every day in a small, enclosed room was a challenge for Poe Kaw Moo’s father who has lived all of his life in a village in the jungle. It was an exciting day when Poe Kaw Moo’s doctors decided that his burns had healed enough and he could be discharged! Poe Kaw Moo continues to heal and undergo physical therapy at a rehabilitation hospital near Maharaj Nakorn hospital. We hope that Poe Kaw Moo’s healing continues and that he and his father will be able to return to their home and family soon!






Dr. Mitch has run several medical programs in remote places. Enjoy’s exploring new worlds with enthusiastic experts in their fields…  anything in medicine, science, history, art, music, engineering, philosophy, multimedia, IT. He has recently conceded that he’s not likely going to get to go to the moon in his lifetime. But Antarctica is still on the list.  



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