On 4th August 2015 one year old Elizabeth and her mum Charlotte were having a lazy day at home in Aldeburgh, with dad Neil at work. Charlotte packed lunch away and made herself a cup of earl grey tea while Elizabeth played.
Charlotte put her mug of tea on top of the radiator, she thought out of reach, and popped into the kitchen for a second – as she turned around she saw Elizabeth pulling the boiling hot liquid over herself causing a scald across most of her face and body.
Charlotte got Elizabeth stripped off, into the sink, and under cold running water, and while she was doing that called for an ambulance. The 999 call handler stayed on the phone and talked Charlotte through what she needed to do. Charlotte was told to keep Elizabeth in cold water for fifteen minutes and then to take her out of the water and wrap her in a blanket. Elizabeth was wrapped in a blanket and dozing when the ambulance crew arrived.
On arrival the land paramedics gave Elizabeth some oramorph and tried to dress the burns, but Elizabeth pulled the dressings off quite quickly. The air ambulance landed in the playing field behind the house and doctor Pam Crispin, critical-care paramedic Rod Wells and pilot Neil Waller ran across the garden and into the house. While all this was happening dad Neil was being tracked down at work and making his way home.
The crew decided that Elizabeth would benefit from the specialist burns care at the Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford, so although that wasn’t the closest hospital, the crew flew Elizabeth to Broomfield with her mum. Charlotte did not enjoy the helicopter ride at all! Neil was driven to Broomfield to meet Charlotte and Elizabeth there. The flight took about 25 minutes, a drive which took 75.
Once at hospital Elizabeth had to wait until the evening to go into theatre as she had just eaten when the burns happened, but when she went in her burns were cleaned and blisters were lanced. They also used biobrain on the burns which stays on the skin while the burns heal and then peels off leaving the new skin behind. She was given pain relief and wrapped in cling film. The following day she was dancing in her cot.
Elizabeth spent 3 nights in Broomfield – one in ICU and then onto the children’s ward. Charlotte was able to stay with her, and Neil stayed at Chelsmford fire station overnight, kindly arranged for him by the fire service as he is a relief firefighter.
They had to go back to Broomfield every 5 days for the next 3 weeks for Elizabeth’s dressings to be changed. Her last appointment was 1st September, and Charlotte went back to work as a teacher in the local school the following day.
A few months on and you wouldn’t know anything had happened.
A few months on and you wouldn’t know anything had happened – Elizabeth’s scarring is all but gone and she is toddling around without a care in the world. It took Charlotte a while to be able to have a cup of tea again, but life is returning to normal for the whole family.