Friday, June 27, 2014 | 2 a.m.
A Las Vegas doctor still plans to provide free plastic surgery to a Mississippi girl whose grandmother may have lied about being ejected from a KFC because of the girl’s facial scars.
Dr. Frank Stile, who has a plastic surgery practice in southwest Las Vegas, offered his services free of charge after 3-year-old Victoria Wilcher’s story went viral. But news this week that the KFC account might be fake has made paying for Victoria’s other medical care more difficult.
Victoria’s grandmother said they were kicked out of a Jackson KFC in May after an employee said the wounds on Victoria’s face, which she suffered in a dog attack, were disrupting customers.
The fried chicken chain now says its investigation found no evidence that the incident occurred. An independent investigator also was unable to corroborate the account. Victoria’s family maintains that it happened.
Despite the possible hoax, Stile will uphold his offer for free reconstructive surgery.
“Her being allegedly thrown out of KFC was never the reason why he offered to help her,” said Susan Davis, Stile’s practice coordinator. “His motivation to help her was always that she was a child that has serious disfiguration, and that hasn’t changed.”
Victoria also should still receive other free services, including a prosthetic eye, from different doctors, Davis said. KFC is honoring its $30,000 commitment to Wilcher’s medical bills, as well.
Donations poured in after Victoria’s story was picked up. Her page on GoFundMe, a crowdfunding website, received more than $130,000. That page has since been taken down.
The CEO of GoFundMe told media outlets that the company “temporarily suspended the campaign until the full truth is made clear” and that donors can request refunds online.
Now the funding for Victoria’s surgeries is in jeopardy. The family intended to use that money to pay for the child’s medical care, which will cost at least $250,000 over the next three years, Davis said.
The public still can donate money through The Frank L. Stile Foundation’s website. Davis emphasized that funds raised there will be used exclusively to help Victoria, and that even if the KFC incident is not true, the 3-year-old still badly needs medical assistance.
“Victoria’s injuries are real,” Davis said. “She definitely needs this medical care.”