In 2015 my daughter Catherine who was 13 months old at the time, had returned home from a walk in her pushchair with her grandma. Upon their return Catherine was asleep, grandma made a cup of tea, left it on the draining board whilst she went to let a now awake Catherine out of her pushchair. Whilst my mum folded the pushchair away Catherine ventured to the worktop and pulled a tea towel down, which in turn made the hot cup of tea tip over and onto her. My mum couldn’t get to her in time to stop the hot liquid covering her, however she did manage to knock the cup out of the way of her face, instead the contents fell onto her chest and arm. I was upstairs at the time, and heard Catherine screaming and my mum shouting me. I rushed downstairs and saw the scene which will stay with me for life. My poor Catherine was screaming like I have never heard before. I called 999 and we were advised to put Catherine in the bath tub with a flow of water from the shower head over her burnt areas until the ambulance arrived.
The paramedics were fantastic, they acted fast and before we knew it we were on our way to Leeds General Infirmary. When we arrived, Catherine was taken straight away to a room with a baby bath in it and we were advised to keep bathing the burns in water. She was also given some pain relief. After a short while the nurse said that the LGI are not equipped to deal with this kind of emergency, so they advised us to go straight to Pinderfields Hospital. Catherine’s burns were wrapped in clingfilm, and we made our way to Pinderfields Hospital. Catherine stayed at Pinderfields overnight.
The next morning, Catherine’s burns were examined by a doctor on the ward. He told us they were superficial partial burns to her arms, and deep partial burns to her chest. Her burns were cleaned and dressed in bandages. Catherine was very brave during this process, she was in a lot of pain, but Tracey from Family Burns Club did an amazing job at calming both her and I. We needed to come back to Pinderfields every other day for Catherine’s burns to be cleaned and dressings to be changed.
Three weeks post burn we went back to Pinderfields for the routine clean and dressing, at which point we were told the burn was not healing as well as it should be. It had turned quite raised, red and bumpy. The doctor said it might have an infection, we were told to come back next week to start some antibiotics if it hadn’t improved. Luckily when we went back it had very much improved, therefore bandages were reduced and we were able to start treatment at home, using bathing, massage and application of Scarcil and Mepiform.
Upon another steroid clinic we were advised that Catherine would need a course of steroid injections, administered under general anaesthetic. The injections would reduce the swelling of the scars. Catherine had three steroid injections over the space of a year. Each time Tracy from Family Burns Club was there to help calm Catherine as the anaesthetist administered the aesthetic. As upsetting as it was, Catherine took all three injections in her stride, and it seemed the injections worked well. A while after her last injection we had out final scar clinic, where Catherine was totally discharged from Pinderfields Paediatric Burns Unit.
As much as the medical treatment chapter of Catherine’s ordeal is over, the psychological affects of her burns are a current worry. Over the summer she was reluctant to wear clothes where others would see her scars (I had to bribe her with chocolate on a very hot day to wear something light and airy), she has just started reception and is worried about people seeing them as she gets changed for PE. I hope that Catherine grows to embrace her scars, and that she feels proud of the beautiful person she is. With the help of Family Burns Club, Catherine can spend time with other burn injured children which has really helped her, this year as I know her scaring is bothering her more than it used to. We are so very proud of her, and so very grateful for excellent support and care she has received along the way from the paramedics, hospital staff and Family Burns Club.