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Salamanders Young Burn Survivors > Your Own Stories > Yasmin Stalford's Story

Burn Survivor Yasmin Stalford's Story

I am now in my late twenties and was burnt 25 years ago when I was 3. My elder brother and I were watching Dr Who (which tells you how old I am now!!!!) and he was supposed to be watching me, but as all kids do they loose concentration, and I went off into the kitchen to see what my mum and sister were doing. My sister was ten and was changing my 6 week old baby brother's nappy while my mum was cutting potatoes to make chips.

My mum had a new deep fat fryer which in those days did not have lids. The oil was at cooking temperature and it was on the kitchen table. We had a table and bench set, so I decided to climb up onto the table and sit beside the fryer to see what was going on. My mum then told me to get down and go back into the lounge before I got burnt. As I climbed down I caught the flex of the fryer and pulled it down so that it was balanced between the edge of the table and the bench. The oil poured onto the floor, and as I got off of the bench I slipped and sat in the still very hot oil.

My mum was unaware of the need to put me into cold water and a neighbour rushed us to Odstock burns unit in Salisbury. Luckily for me we only lived six miles away from the hospital. My mum bypassed A&E and went straight to the burns unit. I sustained 39% burns, mainly full thickness burns with some areas of partial thickness to my left leg knee to foot which was circumferential, the back of my left thigh and part of the anterior aspect of the same thigh, both my hands front and back, my right forearm from the elbow down, my tummy and a patch on my right foot and thigh. I also had splash burns to my face and tongue.

I was given a venous cut down because I was so shocked, and I had skin grafts to my left foot, ankle and leg. I was an inpatient for six weeks and attended dressing clinics for several weeks post discharge. After my burns had healed I wore pressure garments for two years. Luckily for me my mum took excellent care of my scarring and I have never required further surgery even on the scars that cover joints. I have full function in both my hands and my scarring is very good although still visible. I still have to be very careful in the sun as my scars still burn quite easily and I still need to cream them daily but other than that I have no major issues.

I trained as a nurse to specifically work in burns as a way of putting back a little of the care that I received as a patient. I have a child of my own and a fantastic partner who has never made an issue of my scarring! I no longer think why me? Because it doesn't matter. The important thing is I survived and have gone on to lead a fulfilling and successful life. It took me a long time to learn how to just be me and that I did not need to be perfect in every way as a way of making up for not being physically perfect.

Yasmin Stalford - Burn Survivor

Copyright © Yasmin Stalford (March 2004) All Rights Reserved.