30 November 2020
In July, the Day family, from North London, were enjoying a summer break at Fritton Lake, near Great Yarmouth. Dad Chris, mum Bailyn and one-year-old Charlie were getting ready to leave the lodge, packing up for the trip ahead. Unfortunately, as lunch was being prepared, Charlie excitedly burst into the kitchen. Within seconds, he had reached up onto the kitchen counter and pulled a pan of boiling hot water all over his chest, torso and face, causing him to scream out instantly in incredible pain.
Charlie’s parents rushed him into the shower to try and cool the burns down as quickly as possible and dialled 999. An ambulance was dispatched whilst Charlie’s family tried to follow the advice of the call handler, but his condition wasn’t getting any better and the situation was escalating quickly. Recognising that Charlie would most likely need specialist treatment, the Anglia One team from Norwich was also dispatched.
In less than 10 minutes of being activated, Doctor Chris Chadwick and Critical Care Paramedic Gary Steward arrived at the scene. Pilots Steve Norris and Rob Gleave landed the helicopter on part of the holiday park, providing quick access to the lodge. The burns Charlie suffered were very severe and he required advanced pain relief and emergency burn care before being flown to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, where a team was ready and waiting to treat Charlie.
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Charlie was quickly airlifted from Norfolk to Chelmsford for specialist care
By air, the flight took 45 mins. By road, even under blue lights, this would have taken an hour and a half. In this situation, the transfer EAAA were able to provide made a significant difference to Charlie’s care. Chris, Charlie’s dad, went in the helicopter with Charlie and said:
“I really can’t thank the ambulance and air ambulance teams enough for what they did for Charlie. They walked into a crazy scene with Charlie screaming in pain and us trying our best to cool his wounds down, but they were incredibly calm and quick in everything they did. They didn’t waste any time in treating Charlie and getting us to Broomfield. Most of all, they really helped me to keep it together. It all happened so fast and was absolutely terrifying. I think we might have lost Charlie if it wasn’t for them but the team, especially the doctor, who knew what to do and was very reassuring. They are true heroes.”
Once at Broomfield, Charlie went straight into surgery for specialist treatment, which included having biobrane mesh fitted, to promote healing. Charlie was in intensive care for two days and spent 10 days on the burns unit, with his mum staying in the hospital as much as possible. Once home, our Aftercare Team sent Charlie a bravery pack and kept in touch with the family for support.
Incredibly, just a few months after this ordeal, Charlie was back to his usual cheeky self, very active and happy. Some areas of Charlie’s skin have some pigment damage, which should resolve in time and he has a pressure suit to help with scarring. Thankfully, due to the quick and expert treatment he received, he has made a wonderful recovery, shouldn’t have any lasting effects from the burns, and is looking forward to Christmas.
Insights from the doctor who treated Charlie
Doctor Chris Chadwick, who treated Charlie, added: “I remember this mission well. We were rapidly despatched to this incident by the critical care desk at the ambulance service who recognised the EAAA would be able to offer advanced treatments in this case. We had sufficient time in flight to rehearse and plan our interventions for this seriously injured child. The incident was difficult to locate from the air, as the holiday park was in beautiful thick woodland; however, our exceedingly skilled pilots Steve and Rob managed to land the aircraft safely as close to the scene as possible.
“When we arrived, Critical Care Paramedic Gary and I were able to quickly identify that good first aid had been delivered, but Charlie had sadly suffered extensive burns. We all know how painful even the smallest burn can be, so treating Charlie’s pain was our highest priority. We were all relieved once we had quickly managed to control Charlie’s pain and apply specialist dressings, as we could see how distressed he and his family were.
“At EAAA, we are very lucky to be able to combine state of the art equipment with the experience and skills of our advanced teams in cases like this. Charlie was asleep and calm when we loaded him on to the aircraft for the flight to the regional burns centre – which is only possible through the generous donations of our supporters. I am in no doubt that the first aid and the care we provided made a huge difference to Charlie that day, and have been delighted to follow his remarkable progress under the expert care of our amazing NHS colleagues."
“I would encourage anyone to learn emergency first aid, as you just don’t know when it will be needed. The whole crew wish Charlie all the best for his continued, cheeky recovery!”