badly burned for grits

badly burned for grits

A simple oatmeal lunch became a nightmare for a seven-year-old boy who burned part of his small body after spilling boiling water.

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“It was quite an adventure,” recalls Marie-Maude Lefebvre, Henri’s mother.

On the morning of April 6, 2021, the boy’s father had put the kettle on to heat it up. Twins Henri and Renaud, 7, had sat down at the counter next door to eat oatmeal.

Without his parents seeing him, Henri wanted to pour water into his bowl. Instead, he tipped the kettle over: a liter of boiling water spilled over him.

“I heard a scream. It was a scream like we had never heard before,” says the mother, who was upstairs at the time. “He once screamed for three seconds. And then he stopped. He was stiff with shock. »

The mother quickly called 911 and undressed Henri.

“He didn’t say anything more, he was shaking. He wasn’t in pain. The body is well made anyway,” says the 38-year-old mother.

His brother Renaud was also burned by the splashes of boiling water, but more superficially. Henri’s “serious” second degree burns affected 30% of his body (thighs, privates and upper body).

Multiple transplants

At Montreal Children’s Hospital, Henri was hospitalized for three weeks and operated on three times. The boy had a skin graft in several places (pubic bone, private parts and thighs).

In the months that followed, the boy had many follow-up visits at the hospital to make sure the skin was healing properly. He also had to learn to walk again and “bend over” to climb the stairs or go to the bathroom.

“His burn was so severe that his skin became stiff,” recalls Ms. Lefebvre, psychoeducator.

Even today, the great athlete Henri always wears compression clothing. Her mother hopes that the healing process will be complete within six months.

Although the event was difficult for the family, the now 9-year-old boy developed positively.

“He learned so much tolerance, to be patient […] He learned to communicate, supports the mother. I was super impressed. »


In the second degree “difficult”

Multiple skin grafts required

Skin will never be the same again

Scarring is the longest part of healing from severe burns, and children are monitored as they grow.

“It’s more difficult after that,” says Dr. Sabrina Cugno, plastic surgeon at Montreal Children’s Hospital.

“Children heal better than adults, but the scars are often more extensive,” she adds.

In his case, Henri received a skin graft from the back of his thighs to heal his burns.

“If you take the skin somewhere else, it’s a different area that needs to heal afterwards. But the grafts are always thin, as if creating a thin, superficial burn,” explains Dr. Cugno who operated on the boy.

“It’s as thin as parchment paper,” compares Marie-Maude Lefebvre, Henri’s mother.

long process

Massages, pressure washing, aftercare by various specialists: After that, the healing process takes at least a year.

“It’s mostly a matter of looks, but we don’t want growth and mobility to be compromised either. That the transplanted skin is not too stiff,” says Dr. Cugno.

Sometimes children even need to be operated on again. One thing is for sure, the transplanted skin will never be the same again.

“We try to optimize it as much as possible,” says the specialist. It’s not more fragile, but it looks different. »

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