British Columbia

Blinded student's family seeks medical miracle

The family of a University of British Columbia student blinded in an attack in Bangladesh is contacting doctors around the world in hopes of finding treatment that will save her eyes.
Rumana Monzur's family is seeking medical advice from around the world in hopes of restoring some of her vision. CBC (CBC)

The family of a University of British Columbia student blinded in an attack in Bangladesh is contacting doctors around the world in hopes of finding treatment that will save her eyes.

Rumana Monzur was visiting her daughter and husband in Dhaka earlier this month when her husband allegedly gouged out her eyes and gnawed her nose.

Her cousin Rashed Maqsood told The Daily Star in Bangladesh that doctors in that country and India have said Monzur's left eye has been completely damaged and the other one is not responding to light.

He said the family has sent diagnostic reports of Monzur's eyes to specialists in the United States, Singapore, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands in hopes that someone can help her to see.

"We are trying to explore if any doctor in the world can treat the eyes that do not respond to light."

Infection concern

The 33-year-old mother is now being treated at a hospital in Bangladesh, where doctors are trying to protect her eyes from infection.

Rumana Monzur is a postgraduate student at UBC, where officials still hope she can finish her degree. UBC ((UBC))
She is an assistant professor of international relations at Dhaka University and a Fulbright scholar and graduate student in political science at the University of B.C.

Her husband, Hasan Sayeed Sumon, was remanded in a Bangladesh court this week on charges of attempted murder related to the June 5 attack.

Her father, Monzur Hossain, said doctors have told him plastic surgery will be needed on her nose.

University of B.C. president Stephen Toope said a number of fundraising efforts are underway for Monzur, including a website where supporters can make donations to help her.

Women's advocates mobilized

The "Help Rumana" website says donations to help pay for her recovery will be delivered to her later this month.

"UBC is also working to prepare options for Ms. Monzur to complete her master's degree in political science," Toope said in a letter.

Dhaka University authorities have agreed to provide legal assistance for Monzur.

Monzur's case has galvanized advocates for women's rights in Canada and abroad as female legislators in Bangladesh have rallied for her and an online petition asks the country's president for justice.

A rally for her is planned for Sunday afternoon outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

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