Health Team

UNC doc heals self-image of attempted murder victim

Posted May 19, 2011

— Plastic surgeons are using new tools to erase the scars of people like a Raleigh woman who survived being stabbed and scalded with hot oil.

Renee Adams Jones' life changed forever on Jan. 16, 2009, when she went over to the house of a friend, Melvin Lancaster.

Jones borrowed Lancaster's computer to email a resume while he was frying chicken in the kitchen. Then, for no reason that Jones knows, he snapped.

"While I was on the Internet, next thing I know, I was being stabbed in my head 10 times," she sad. "That's when he poured hot oil on my head, and it went down."

Then, she said, he sliced the left side of her face with a scalpel.

A neighbor called 911, and Jones eventually ended up at the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill.

Along with deep cuts on her face and head, she had third-degree burns on 12 percent of her body.

Then she met UNC plastic surgeon Scott Hultman.

"Dr. Hultman came into the room, and I was laying there, and he looked at me, and he said, 'I'm going to fix your face,'" Jones recalled.

Hultman helped repair the cuts and used skin grafts to cover the burned skin on her neck and chest.

"Only a few years ago, we couldn't offer someone like Renee much more treatment. We had to be happy with the results that we got and, quite frankly, weren't that good," Hultman said.

Advances in technology, though, offer more options for cases like Jones'.

First, a pulse dye laser was used to reduce inflammation remaining on Jones' neck and chest. The intense pulse light lightens dark scars. (The laser is also used to remove age spots.)

"The CO2, though, is really what has emerged recently that may revolutionize burn care," Hultman said.

The CO2 laser is set to zap 15 percent of small patches of skin, vaporizing abnormal collagen below the surface of the skin. It's helped Jones' scars to fade, and she'll continue treatments until they disappear as much as possible.

What might never fade, though, is the fear left from the vicious attack.

"I don't trust nobody, especially men," Jones said.

UNC doc heals self-image of attempted murder victim UNC doc heals self-image of attempted murder victim

Lancaster was convicted of attacking to Jones and will be in prison until 2020, according to state Department of Correction records.

Jones volunteers with Interact, working on a hotline for women who are victims of violence.

She hopes all victims can meet healers like she did.

"Dr. Hultman is the one who gave me my self-esteem back," Jones said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • adamsrenjones May 27, 2011

    I totally agree but when the state is more concerned about the defendant then the victim these are the things that can happen to anyone. Yes Dr. Hultman is the best Dr. there is.

  • tarheel1968 May 26, 2011

    just wanted to say that Dr. Hultman is a wonderful surgeon!!!

  • 27615 May 24, 2011

    this guy should be locked up for life!

  • braddavis May 20, 2011

    I find it difficult to believe that our court system would let this man out ever. Continue to fight the good fight Ms. Jones and know that you have unspoken support.

  • surffish May 20, 2011

    Ms. Jones, you are an inspiration to everyone! You are my hero. God bless you.

  • Killian May 20, 2011

    Ms. Jones, your strength is admirable. The doctor is an amazing person as well, but it takes healing from the inside for the healing on the outside to truly have an effect.

    I wish you peace!

  • tarheel1968 May 20, 2011

    Ms. Jones, just wanted to let you know that prayers are with you that one day you find a man that knows how to treat a lady. Dr.Hultman performed surgery on my hand Monday, May 16th, he is a great dr.

  • anneonymousone May 20, 2011

    Ms. Jones, I admire your courage in continuing to seek recovery and your generosity in supporting other people who have been abused. There are many lessons for me to learn from your experience.

    May you meet many strong and gentle men and strong and gentle women to help restore your faith in humanity.