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Real family case-study: Max’s story

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On 17th May 2017, Max was a fully potty trained 2-year-old. Here Max’s mum tells their family’s story.

At tea time, his dad had run a bath for me and got called away to answer the front door. In this split second, Max had toppled into the bath containing just hot water up to his ankles and couldn’t get himself back out. The scream could be heard from the ground floor of our 3-storey town house. His dad was able to climb the stairs quickly in large strides. When he got there, Max’s skin on his feet was peeling off like a pair of socks, a sight that would make anyone feel sick to their stomach.

As the bath contained hot water, I quickly rushed Max to his Gran’s house (only 1 minute away in a car). There we were able to cool his feet and hand in cold water. We didn’t realise that you’re supposed to wrap burns in cling film so we soaked some towels and wrapped Max in them to get him to the hospital. The team at Ipswich hospital A&E were amazing and quickly got him medicated and dressings on the burns ready to be transferred to Broomfield Burns Unit.

Max had a 2 week stay in hospital where he had skin grafts carried out on his 15% full thickness burns (both feet and his left hand/wrist). During his stay at Broomfield he was required to have a diet which was high in calories to aid the healing process, so was allowed to eat/drink whatever he chose.

When Max returned home he required regular dressing changes at Broomfield as often as every 2-3 days which then changed to dressing changes at home. During this time Max reacted to his donor sites and they became infected, taking what felt like a lifetime to heal (longer than the grafts themselves). Max had to learn to walk again and to re-use his left hand which took a while and him returning to nursery helped this.

We had many visits with a family psychologist as well as other specialists at Broomfield which enabled the whole family to deal with the trauma of Max’s injuries.

Max had to regain confidence around the bath and his older sister, Grace, who developed anxieties around everyday tasks.

While recovering Max suffered with severe itching which happened mainly at night time. He would scratch until his wounds were ripped open and bleeding again, which in turn would cause him to scream and wake the whole house up.

In October 2018, Max’s wounds were finally healed and he got the all clear to be able to go swimming again for the first time since his accident.

The journey wasn’t over yet, Max was then issued with pressure garments which he protested against wearing but with a little bribery we managed it.

Max had reactions to many of the suggested creams which caused further itching, but with a little trial and error we found that ‘Palmers cocoa butter’ worked best.

Then Max started school……..

Max lost confidence and was reluctant to show his scars, but with help from the school and hospital he was able to explain his scars to his peers and his confidence grew.

In 2019, Max’s scars were tightening due to growth and needed laser surgery. He was finding it difficult to walk long distances and instead of standing he would rock from one foot to another to reduce the pressure. His bulging heel scars meant that shoe shopping was a nightmare due to the shoes rubbing or gripping his sensitive scar areas.

In March 2020, Max finally got his laser surgery and had 3 weeks recovery and was off school. When Max finally got the all clear to be able to return to school from the consultant, Covid19 hit and closed the schools for lockdown. This in turn knocked his confidence again.

The laser treatment worked! We were so amazed by the results because we didn’t know what to expect (more worry).

Max is now 7 years old and his scars are hardly noticeable. He is proud of them and will openly show anyone who asks.

It’s been a very long and emotional ride and as a family we have had to overcome many hurdles like; toileting troubles, bad eating habits due to the hospital diet and Max learning to play on everyone’s guilt/empathy to his benefit.  At times it was hard to see life in a positive light but now we can see light at the end of the tunnel!

Max is now awaiting his second round of laser surgery which it is likely he will continue to need while he grows.

Burns are a real eye opener to what can happen from hot drinks, hot kettles, hot pans, candles, fires, fireworks and baths.

When around these hazards please think of Max and the other children that have already suffered an injury and take extra care.

Hopefully our story will help to prevent someone else’s injury.

Remember …..

COOL for 20 minutes

CALL 999

COVER with cling film

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