Arthur's Story - A burn is for life, but so is a smile
Arthur's mum Laura shares their story and advice on how to react if your child is burnt
On the 9th April 2019, our lives changed in the blink of an eye. Arthur who was 2 years 9 months old at the time, was playing in the garden with his big sister. I ran into the house to pop to the loo and hadn’t seen him follow behind me. Before I even got upstairs I heard a scream I will never forget. Arthur in less than a minute had managed to pull himself up onto my kitchen worktop and grab hold of the cafetiere of coffee that I had made about 15 mins before.
I ran into the kitchen to find Arthur screaming and soaking wet. He was in a zip up hoody and a nappy and I tore them off him, not knowing if that was the right thing to do. I scooped him up and held him under the garden tap, and I panicked. Polly my eldest was also scared and crying. Once I managed to get hold of my phone I rang 999 for an ambulance. While on the phone my mum arrived as she always came round at the same time for coffee after work and we managed to get him to the shower upstairs. We kept him under the shower until the ambulance arrived, 33 minutes later and I just remember holding him and his skin coming off in my hands.
The ambulance arrived and the crew struggled to get burn dressings to stick on Arthur and they were worried that he was hypothermic due to being under the cold water so long. We also had problems with what they could give him for the pain as he has allergies, the only medication being the Calpol out my cupboard. They decided to blue light us to Addenbrooke's hospital and because of the state he was in I had to hold him on the bed in the ambulance while the paramedics kept trying to get the burns dressings to stay on him. A team was waiting for us when we arrived at Addenbrooke's and we were rushed into the resuscitation area. During the assessment of the burn the doctors decided they needed to sedate Arthur to help manage his pain, and to contact the nearest specialist burns unit which is in Chelmsford, Essex. It was decided that due to the size of Arthur’s burn he would be transferred to the specialist burns unit. While all this was happening, I was having to organise where Polly would go as I was a single mum at the time. Luckily my parents sorted Polly out and my dad also arrived at Addenbrooke's with supplies for me and Arthur knowing that we were being transferred to Chelmsford, so far from home. We arrived on the Burns Unit at around 10.30pm.
On arrival at the burns unit the burns team had to take off the burns dressings that A+E had put on so that the burns consultant could assess the burns. Arthur’s burn is from the top of his left ear down to his left knee, with his left arm being the worst part. Once the doctors had assessed him they redressed the burns and set up intravenous medication. We were told that he would be having surgery in the morning to have the burns cleaned fully. The first surgery was scary, and one of the doctors came and found me before they had finished, to say the burns were deep and that they had cleaned them fully and put new burns dressings on, but it would be at least 3 days until we would know if he would need skin grafts.
We stayed in the burns unit and the staff were amazing and my parents brought Polly to visit every day which was lovely. On the 14th April Arthur had a dressing change and the burn wound was looking good, again pain management was an issue and because of his other medical conditions he could only have Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. Sadly, on the 15th April Arthur became really unwell and developed sepsis and was rushed into the operating theatre, and the surgeons came to see me to say that once they took the dressings off they found they had to do skin grafts to his arm and body as the burns were full thickness in depth. They had to take the skin grafts from his legs. On the 18th April Arthur had another dressing change to check his skin grafts and they were healing well. On the 19th April Arthur was allowed home to return every 3 days for dressing changes. Within 3 weeks Arthur was out of dressings and had to start scar therapy, which involves his healed burn being massaged 4 times a day and wearing a pressure suit, to help keep the scar flat.
Amazingly on the 5th May Arthur started preschool, less than a month after his accident.
We are now ambassadors of the Children’s Burns Trust, and we tell our story to help others to know what to do if it ever happens to you. Arthur is now nearly 7 and still has check-ups at the burns unit and may require more treatment or surgery as he grows. His scars will always be there, but he is a very strong boy who continues to smile and make us laugh every day.
In the month Arthur was burnt another 607 children were hospitalised in a specialist burns unit with a burn injury. The Children’s Burns Trust is a non-profit organisation working to raise awareness and prevent burn and scald injuries to children, as well as providing support and rehabilitation to burn injured children and their families.
Remember……COOL COVER CALL
1) COOL the burn with running cool tap water for 20 minutes, and remove all clothing and jewellery, unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound.
2) COVER with cling film or a clean non-fluffy dressing or cloth, and make sure the patient is kept warm.
3) CALL for help for any burn larger than a 50p coin; 999, 111 or local GP for advice.