{Our Family Public Service Announcement} Contact Burns

Four years ago today our world changed forever.  There was a blackout throughout much of the Puget Sound area in Washington…snow was on the ground, we had gone a couple days without electricity, and our gas fireplace was pretty much all we had for heat.  Our youngest was 17 months old.  She was *so good* knowing not to touch the glass in front of the fireplace…but then we turned it off.  And the flame went away.  And she thought it was okay to go look for the flame.  As soon as she put her hands on that glass, her life would change forever.

She was rushed to the ER with bilateral palm burns…both hands were burned.  They gave her a few shots of morphine and knew they had to transfer her to a pediatric burn unit.  Off she went with daddy in an ambulance up to Harborview Burn Unit in Seattle…the best burn unit ever, at least in our eyes.  She stayed in the burn unit for a week.  During that time, she underwent daily debridement of the skin and pain management.  We also learned how to care for the burns so we could take her home for a couple weeks before she had to undergo skin grafting surgery (there is more risk of infection in a hospital, so home was the safest place).   I actually performed the entire wound care routine in front of a nurse in order for her to be discharged.  Then, three weeks post-burn,  she underwent her first, of two, skin grafting surgeries.  What a blessing…

Post surgery, it was prayers that the grafting would take.  We also had to force her to use the left hand, by splinting the right, to regain function.  Then it was stretching every 30 minutes of every day for MONTHS…and since we couldn’t stretch her out during the night hours, she wore splints while sleeping.  Your whole life transforms with a burn…and it takes time to heal.  We are so blessed for the plethora of knowledgeable doctors and therapists at Harborview that treated our daughter and coached us with the necessary skills to ensure her recovery.  We are so blessed to have a little girl that now has full function of both hands.  Scars will be there forever, but may it always serve her a reminder of how incredibly brave and strong she was during this time.

So please let this testament of ours, be knowledge for you…the glass in front of a gas fireplace gets EXTREMELY hot.  A safety screen could save you many tears, fears, and scars.  If not to protect your own children, protect those that visit your home while the fireplace is on.  Hopefully, sharing our story will prevent another little one from burns caused from the glass in front of a gas fireplace.

Below is a photo from August 2008 when she had her cast removed after her second grafting surgery.  Itsy Bitsy, we are so proud of you…and our hearts ache that you had to endure this.


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