Womans horrific burns after she fell into oven during epileptic seizure
A woman suffered horrific burns and almost had to have her fingers amputated after she fell into a hot oven during an epileptic seizure.
Shaz McCormack, 20, from Maidstone, Kent, suffered a four-minute long convulsion while she was cooking a roast dinner for her family.
Thankfully, a neighbour heard banging and alerted the fire brigade who rescued her.
Shaz, a care home nursing assistant, suffered third-degree burns to both her arms and needed skin grafts to repair the damage.
She says: Ive been left scarred all over my hands which Im very self-conscious about. I always wear a jumper to cover them up, even in hot weather.
Doctors almost had to amputate my fingers due to the severity of the burns.
Its hard to believe that this happened due to my epilepsy but Im trying to think positively.
I want people to take illnesses such as epilepsy seriously as they can have a huge impact on peoples lives.
Shaz was diagnosed with epilepsy in July 2013 when she was just 14 after suffering a seizure one morning before school.
She says: It was a shock as Id never experienced any symptoms before. But I had to learn to live with it and doctors gave me medication to prevent seizures.
As Shazs episodes have no warning signs shes unable to drive a car and was forced to give up her dreams of becoming a midwife.
She says: Its been tough. Sometimes I do wish I could be as carefree as my friends.
In July 2015 then aged 17, Shaz was home alone while her mum Clare, 42, a mental health nurse, was at work.
She says: I had a day off college and thought Id cook dinner for my family when they arrived home. I was roasting potatoes in the oven and when I pulled the tray out to turn them over, the room went black.
What must have been minutes later, I woke up surrounded by firemen with a silver shock blanket wrapped around me. I was extremely confused. And my hands felt like they were on fire.
My skin was tight and hot, and I couldnt bend my fingers. The firemen told me Id had a seizure and collapsed, with my arms still inside the boiling hot oven.
Luckily, my neighbour had heard the bangs and when she couldnt get an answer from me, she dialled 999.
Paramedics gave Shaz morphine to bring down the swelling on her hands and then took her via ambulance to Maidstone Hospital, Kent, where her mum met her.
The same day, she was transferred by ambulance to Grinstead Hospital to receive specialist burns care.
Shaz says: Mum was distraught and couldnt stop crying. Doctors told me my skin was too fragile to go into theatre so I had my first skin graft two days after my accident.
Then, later that week, doctors also inserted temporary metal plates to support my fingers so I didnt move my skin. My surgeon revealed Id burnt through the blood vessels.
The burns were so deep that I was left with blackened skin which was completely numb. Id suffered third-degree burns to both hands and my arms.
Doctors didnt know if theyd be able to save my fingers and thought Id lose them all. I was hysterical when they told me, luckily mum was able to calm me down. And thankfully doctors were able to save my fingers.
For the first 10 days after her accident, Shaz never saw her injuries.
But one day, while nurses changed her dressings, she glanced down and was horrified.
Shaz says: My hands were red raw. I just sobbed. I felt disfigured.
For the next year, Shaz underwent physiotherapy and applied gel every day to minimise her scars.
She says: I needed help to do everything. Thankfully after my second skin graft, the feeling came back in my hands. I will be scarred for life and Im still unable to straighten the little finger on my right hand out.
I hate my scars and cover them up all the time.
In April 2017, I had surgery to implant a brain nerve simulator which sends regular signals to my brain to calm down any irregular activity.
Ive now been free of seizures for 14 months. I want to raise awareness of epilepsy as people dont understand how dangerous it can be – and how life can change in an instant.