A woman has relived the terrifying moment when she fainted while boiling the kettle dousing herself in scolding hot water.
Sarah Exton, 21, from Woolwich, South East London, was left with first degree burns and scarred for life after the bizarre accident.
Luckily the damage was reduced by Sarah’s quick-thinking flatmate, Steve Davis, 24, who tore off her clothes and covered her in cold water – saving her from heavier scarring.
Sarah Exton was left with first degree burns after she doused herself with boiling water when she knocked over a kettle when fainting
Freelance writer and producer Sarah said: ‘I was screaming in agony and was really dazed about what had happened.
‘Thank goodness Steve knew what to do, or it would have been so much worse.
‘I was so confused and I didn’t know what to do. The whole thing felt like I was in a TV show.
‘I was just saying “What on earth happened?” I had no idea. The more I came round, the more I realised my skin was burning. Steve was telling me I needed to get my jumper off, because it had soaked up all the boiling water.’
The incident, which left her with first-degree burns across five per cent of her body – which would have been far worse without Steve’s intervention, according to medics – happened at around midnight on November 13.
Sarah’s quick-thinking housemate pulled her clothes off her and poured cold water over her to minimise the skin damage
When the paramedics arrived they covered her skin in a cooling gel and Sarah’s body was left with five per cent burns when doctors initially feared it would be 10 per cent
After a hectic day, when she had skipped meals, Sarah had her hand around the handle of the kettle, poised to make a drink, when she started feeling dizzy and fainted, hurling the boiling water over her skin as she fell.
She explained: ‘I passed out and, as I fell to the ground, I grabbed the kettle and that fell down with me. ‘The lid opened up and boiling water cascaded over me.
‘I didn’t know what happened until I came round and my roommate was taking my jumper off and I was shaking uncontrollably.’
Steve removed Sarah’s soaking clothes off, before taking her into the living room and slowly pouring cold water over her skin.
She added: ‘He called an ambulance, but it took them about 20 minutes to get to me.
After wrapping Sarah’s body in bandages, doctors discharged her, but she says she felt self-conscious of the bandages and avoided leaving the house
She returned to the hospital every few days, for them to clean her wounds and replace the bandages
‘During that time, he was continuously pouring cold water on me and trying to keep me calm.
‘I felt like everything was on fire and I was in so much shock. It all seemed so surreal.
‘My flatmate was telling me it wasn’t as bad as it looked. It was on the left side of my neck, over my chest, on the top of my left breast, on the top part of my left arm and the top part of my right arm and it trickled down my back. There were lots of little burns everywhere where it had splashed over me.’
When paramedics arrived, they applied cooling gels to Sarah’s skin before rushing her to the Queen Victoria hospital in Woolwich.
She added: ‘I couldn’t put any clothes on, so they wrapped me in a loose shirt to cover my breasts.
‘It was late at night, so I was glad my neighbours hadn’t been around to see my walk of shame. They started giving me painkillers and, from that point, I was a bit out of it.’
At the hospital, doctors assessed the extent of the damage and took pictures of her injuries, to send to London’s more specialised Chelsea and Westminster hospital, where she was transferred the next morning.
Sarah finally had all her bandages removed and stopped needing outpatient care
‘At first, they thought about 10 per cent of my body was burnt, but it was half that, thanks to Steve’s swift actions,’ she continued.
‘When I arrived at Chelsea and Westminster, they were so surprised at how little damage was done, considering freshly boiled water had been involved.
‘When I explained what my flatmate had done, they said it was because of him that I wasn’t badly scarred. He’s my hero.’
After wrapping Sarah’s body in bandages, doctors discharged her, telling her to return to the hospital every few days, for them to clean her wounds and replace the bandages.
‘They wrapped me up and I looked a bit like a Michelin man’ added Sarah.
‘They said I could go home for my recovery, which was great, as I could relax, but I was upset by the bandages and I didn’t leave the house other than to go to the hospital.’
Last week, Sarah finally had all her bandages removed and stopped needing outpatient care.
She added: ‘The burns on my chest, left arm and back are the worst. They are still healing. They will probably scar and it looks like the pigmentation in my skin is coming back darker than my usual skin colour. Doctors don’t know how long it will take for that to get back to normal.
‘I’m still trying to come to terms with what happened. It’s still such a bizarre thing.
‘I was self-conscious about the bandages, only leaving the house to go to the hospital and back.
‘I still try to hide the scars, because I feel like they are off-putting to other people, but my friends have been amazing, reassuring me that I’m still the same person and making sure I still have a chipper attitude.’
Sarah also paid tribute to the hospital staff, who treated her throughout her ordeal.
She said: ‘I was clearly uncomfortable and in pain, but the nurses were lovely. They just tried to keep my spirits up as much as they could. They would all remember me and things about it and it really helped me.’