Firiel was burned by boiling water from an electric kettle at the age of one. After several years of care and numerous spa treatments, the little girl and her mother saw the condition of her skin improve, which allowed her to successfully face and bear the gaze of others.
- When Firiel was 13 months old, she was burned by boiling water from an electric kettle, which spilled all over her body except her face.
- She was placed in an induced coma, in intensive care, in intensive care, received a skin graft for both legs and underwent rehabilitation for eight months.
- Thanks to several thermal treatments, she has less itching and neuropathic pain and her skin is smoother and more uniform.
“It was December 31, 2017. We were at his grandmother’s house in Ain. Firiel, who was 13 months old, was in his cozy place in the kitchen. Suddenly, I heard him screaming. approaching her, I quickly realized that the boiling water from the electric kettle, which was on the floor, had spilled all over her body except her face. remembers Imane, the little girl’s mother.
Her daughter, badly burned, “was dehydrated, liquefied” and “almost died”
As a nurse, she quickly had the reflex to give him first aid. “As it was cold, Firiel was wearing several layers of clothing on her upper body. In a panic, I took off her clothes, which caused her skin to peel off, especially on her legs which were as injured as her left hand. I used water at room temperature, and not cold water to avoid the double shock to the body, at the level of the burns for at least 15 minutes.” At that moment, the young mother, who is now 43 years old, realizes that the burn has reached the surface but also the inside of the epidermis. “Instead of calling the fire brigade, I made the mistake of putting her in a wet sheet and taking her by car, with my brother, to the nearest hospital which did not specialize in burns”, confides the Lyonnaise.
A few hours after the hospitalization of her daughter, who is almost seven years old, she noticed that the medical team had not been able to properly treat the burns. “Firiel was dehydrated, she was liquefying. It was nonsense, she almost died. The doctors told me there was nothing more they could do to treat her.” Faced with this lack of quality of care, the forty-year-old wanted to transfer her baby to the Edouard Herriot hospital in Lyon, which has a center dedicated to severe burns. She made several requests to the establishment where her daughter was admitted a few minutes after the accident. “They refused. I had to insist that they send photos of the burns to the Edouard Herriot hospital. After seeing them, the practitioners directly asked that Firiel be transferred to Lyon.”
Skin graft: “she had bandages from head to toe”
At the Edouard Herriot hospital, “everything came together.” “My daughter was placed in an artificial coma and then in intensive care for a month. It was very hard for me. I had to deal with this accident alone, because my partner did not support me, which led to our separation. Furthermore , I had to give up and leave my daughter every evening at the hospital, because no space had been set up for parents to stay with their child. The caregivers told me that if I stayed next to her , I wasn’t going to be able to sleep because of the noise of the machines. They didn’t understand that I hadn’t slept a wink since the accident.”, deplores Imane. After all this, Firiel received a skin graft, taken from the abdomen, for both of her legs. “She was bandaged from head to toe.” The young patient then went to intensive care for a week.
One month after the accident, the child was admitted to a rehabilitation center for eight months where she benefited from physiotherapy sessions, the fitting of equipment and dressings. “At that time, I was on sick leave because Firiel needed me to be there 24 hours a day. There was no way I was going to look after other people when my daughter was in bad shape. What’s more, this accident was also traumatic for me. And for good reason, today, I am still in therapy for this but also in burnout. I realized that this tragedy isolated and completely changed me. Over the years, I reviewed my priorities”indicates the nurse.
Itching, neuropathic pain, scars: “between each spa treatment, we see a real improvement”
During the little girl’s care journey, the Lyonnaise heard about the Burns and Smiles burn association and joined it. “They supported me a lot and also introduced me to the treatment at the Thermes de Saint-Gervais Mont Blanc, which was more than beneficial for my daughter.” After rehabilitation, Firiel had to wait six months before having her first treatment, because it was important not to start too early. “During the inflammatory phase, her skin was red and blistered. There was therefore a greater risk of infection. However, once her skin was less purple, she was able to carry out the treatments at the age of two. I I remember, she was still in diapers. Then, she benefited from another cure during the same year and two other cures the year after.” Last October, the child was “his eighth or ninth cure”.
During the three weeks of treatment, the young patient always did the general bath (where her body is immersed in a bath of thermal water at 39°C), the general spray (where fine jets spray thermal water on his whole body), the local bath (which focuses on the hands, arms and legs) and the massage with the physiotherapist to soften his restraints. “Between each spa treatment, we see a real improvement. The treatments have softened his skin, made it smoother, more uniform and less grainy. They have also reduced his itching and neuropathic pain,” which the little girl describes as “electricity shots in the legs”which could limit his ability to walk. “Today, my daughter can show off her legs without feeling ashamed and she can tolerate the fact that strangers look at her or talk to her about it, which was not the case before. I am very proud of her,” underlines Imane.
After each treatment, Firiel says she feels better overall. “But, I’m a little tired and my scars hurt because of the skinny shower,” Firiel admits. This last treatment, which the girl considers painful, corresponds to projecting thermal water at very high pressure onto the area to be treated via micro holes which cause the sensation of acupuncture points on the epidermis. This will mobilize the tissue in depth, loosen the dermis and remove adhesions. “It’s a very heavy dermatological treatment for my daughter. She often tells me that she doesn’t want to go for the treatment because of the thin shower.”
“The treatment is reimbursed, but it is not accessible to everyone”
Although spa treatment has many benefits on the health and quality of life of burn victims, the nurse points out that it has a cost. “The treatment is reimbursed, but it is not accessible to everyone. During the three weeks, you have to pay for accommodation, travel and meals. You also have to keep the children busy in the afternoon, after school. care, by doing paid activities”, regrets the Lyonnaise who hopes that one day, these costs can be fully covered by Social Security.
Beyond the financial aspect, she also finds that the treatment requires a lot of adaptation for the children. “They lose some of their bearings, have to get used to changes in pace and make new friends. My daughter sometimes suffers from sleep disorders. In these cases, she is followed by a psychologist.” The forty-year-old is aware that Firiel does not have the life of a normal little girl. “Sometimes she gets fed up, she throws fits. She tells me that she is ‘sorry for getting burned’ and that she would like ‘to have smooth legs’ like mine. Through these sentences, I understand that she doesn’t cope very well with the situation, even if she doesn’t tell me explicitly. She grew up too quickly, she skipped steps, she lost her carefreeness, because she was projected from a very young age age in a world of adults. However, she is a ray of sunshine, a child on fire. Firiel has the joy of life, she laughs all the time and always wants to move. She is an example for me !”