A mother's horror: When her baby got scalded by boiling hot tea!
"I was absolutely horrified to see his skin peeling off in the affected areas. He was in convulsions because of the pain."
It was a normal day just like any other. On Thursday, 24 November, Mahima Jaggi was in the bedroom of her Simei apartment, folding clothes. Her little bub, 1-year-old Armaan, was in his element, running all over the place.
Her helper had just placed a cup of boiling hot green tea on the tall bed-side table. What happened next was beyond her imagination.
Little baby got scalded
The cup probably caught little Armaan's fancy for he tippy-toed and grabbed it. Mahima recounts her horror, "I didn't think he could reach it. The boiling hot liquid fell instantly on his left shoulder, under arm and stomach. He then started slipping on the liquid. Thankfully, I caught him by the arm before he fell onto it, saving his face from the impact."
By now, he was screaming and crying.
"I rushed him into the room next door and tore open his clothes. I was absolutely horrified; his skin was peeling off in the affected areas. He was in convulsions because of the pain."
Rushed to hospital
"My husband had just landed from a flight and was on his way home. I decided to rush Armaan to Changi General Hospital (CGH), which was just 5 minutes away from our apartment. I called my husband to join me at the emergency room at CGH.
When they saw Armaan's state at CGH, they immediately rushed us in without any registration. Doctors came and cleaned up his wounds with some solution, no pain killer was however given. When my husband reached, he was asked to wait outside and complete the registration before they could administer pain killers.
After registration, they gave him some oral pain killers, but it was not really effective. He was in immense pain and his whole body was twitching uncontrollably. They took some pictures of him to share with specialists in other hospitals to decide on possible next steps of treatment.
I was still in shock looking at his wounds. Finally they gave him some sedative plus pain killer through a tube in his nose and he slept off. When my husband finally joined me, he was completely shaken up to see our baby in that state. Doctors were still unsure about next steps. Finally, they said we had to go to KK Hospital (KKH), because they weren't specialised in burns or paediatric care."
A little baby got scalded. Go to the next page to read how it was treated...
Transferred to another hospital
"They transferred me and my son to KK Hospital through internal ambulance. As soon as we arrived at KKH, they attended to us immediately. My son had slowly started to regain consciousness.
The doctors at KKH assessed the burns to be second degree and shifted us to the dressing area. They assured me that he would be fine in a few weeks. It was heart wrenching; I had to help hold my son down as they cut off the excess skin and dressed him. He was crying a lot and was quite insecure.
They bandaged him up firmly and sent us home with pain killers. They also gave us an appointment to see a plastic surgeon the next day. I was advised to keep him well hydrated, since he could lose moisture through the open wounds, leading to dehydration and infection.
I was lucky that he was at least having breast milk; he wasn't eating anything and even refused water, save for a few sips. Needless to say, Armaan and I didn't sleep that night. He latched onto me excessively to feel secure."
Consulted plastic surgeon
"The next day we went to see the plastic surgeon at KKH. They gave him morphine and paracetamol and told us to wait for 45 minutes before the medicines settled in. Then began the most difficult part.
The nurses took him in to the bathing area to scrape his wounds and to get some blood flowing. This was for assessing the depth of the wound and for establishing the next steps of treatment. My husband was brave enough to stay inside but I couldn't bear his screams.
I came out and broke down. Hearing his screams from the room was heart breaking."
Could not imagine surgery
"The doctor came in and checked his wounds. She confirmed that it was second degree burns and that most parts looked recoverable, except for one patch over the shoulder, which looked quite bad and probably needed skin grafting if it didn't improve over the next couple of dressings.
My heart sank and I felt dizzy as I heard the news. I couldn't fathom the sheer thought of surgery on my little baby who had already suffered so much. To explain, grafting meant surgery by removing the skin from the thigh and patching it over the shoulder, leaving uneven skin in both areas. Also, it would have to be followed up with physiotherapy to ensure proper mobility in both areas.
I was in a state of trauma and panic. She also re-emphasised that his recovery in the first week after the burns was critical. Proper care had to be ensured to prevent infection. He had to be well hydrated.
She mentioned that a special paste had been used in the dressing to help resuscitate the skin cells in order to improve healing."
What post burn care was given when this baby got scalded? Go to the next page to find out...
"Soon after, I consulted my homeopathic doctor in Singapore, as I believe in homeopathy. She started him on oral homoeopathy immediately. She also assured me that he would be okay and wouldn't need grafting.
My family doctor subsequently referred me to another plastic surgeon at Mount Elizabeth for the rest of the dressings. We were really happy with his care and treatment."
Post burn care is vital
"I ramped up my measures to ensure that he was well hydrated. I latched him on to me as many times as he wanted to. It was also a measure of providing him with security as he was emotionally traumatised.
I gave him a diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts and protein as doctors had advised to compensate for the loss of moisture through open wounds. I supplemented my own diet considerably since a major part of his diet was breast milk.
Even though the wounds were well insulated with bandages, I made sure that not a single drop of water fell on them, as any soaking could easily trigger infection and lead to several complications in wound recovery.
I also kept him away from other kids as they might accidentally push him and cause further stress to his wounds.
I researched on all kinds of burns, and the numerous do's and don'ts. I read blogs and testimonials of several burn patients and what they went through. That is where I learnt that I should have run the wound under water for 10 mins."
"On Monday, when the new plastic surgeon undressed his wounds, I was almost about to faint because they were pretty red and looked gruesome. However, that was actually a good sign because it showed blood circulation and that the skin cells were actively regenerating.
Finally the doctor gave us the happy news that the skin would not require grafting after all. After reviewing his pictures from Day 1, he was in fact amazed at the progress of his recovery.
His words literally filled oxygen in my lungs and I felt like I could breathe again! That night I finally slept peacefully."
Return to normalcy
"As days passed, his wounds healed slowly and I kept at my efforts with homeopathy, breast feeding and proper nutrition.
My baby went through 8 dressings in total, and each dressing got progressively easier. Once the bandages came off, I applied pure coconut oil on the wounds after his morning bath and a homeopathic cream application called "Cantharis" after the evening bath, to help the natural healing process of the wounds.
The skin is healing beautifully. It is all even and smooth. Of course there is still discolouration but the colour is returning slowly and the plastic surgeon told me it would take 6 months for complete healing."
Her little baby got scalded. What advice does she have for other mummies? Go to the next page...
Advice to other mummies
After going through hell and back, Mahima has this advice for other mummies:
- "Do your best to protect yourself and your children. Small and simple measures can prevent big accidents and calamities. Please keep hot drinks away from children. Keep them at a reasonably safe height and distance. Don't let children be in the kitchen while there is an open flame or near any electrical cooking/steaming device.
- Finally in the tragic event that something like this were ever to happen to you or your loved one in Singapore please:
- Immediately remove all clothing.
- Run the wound under tap water for 10 mins. DO NOT APPLY ICE, as in the case of a burn it can cause the wound to go into shock and cause further damage to the skin tissue making the recovery process more challenging and complicated.
- Rush to KK Hospital or Singapore General Hospital, as they have a specialised unit in dealing with burns. We made the mistake of going to CGH as it was the nearest, but they didn't have paediatric care. It was absolutely horrific to shuttle across hospitals with an injured infant in hand.
- I would recommend homeopathic treatment post hospital visits, as it is extremely effective for burns recovery and skin problems in general.
- Keep the bandages very dry to prevent soiling and infection of wounds.
- For post burn care, provide good nutrition through ample vegetables, fruits, lentils, seeds and nuts. Also, keep the child extremely hydrated through liquids such as water, soup, juice and milk. This will prevent loss of moisture and dehydration.
- Apply pure coconut oil on the wounds after the bandages are off, as it helps in skin tissue recovery.
- Not sure how much breast feeding had to do with his healing, however, it gave him not only the hydration and nutrition he needed while he was refusing all other food, but also a sense of security.
- Try not to take the blame. I was extremely guilt-ridden when this incident happened under my watch. The feeling worsened when I saw him suffering so much. My poor baby! But I had to forgive myself, and focus all my positive energy and strength towards his speedy recovery.
Injuries such as burns are time sensitive to healing. Also, it can be physically and emotionally draining to support the recovery process. So keep yourself healthy and strong as you are the main source of support for the child.
There was a time when all I could think of was "this is a nightmare" and "this is an ordeal". However, when I realised how important the first week of care was to my baby, I quickly pulled up my socks and became laser focussed on whatever was necessary to support his healing.
Be very strong and keep the child happy and distracted. Provide extra time, love and affection as it helps the healing process."
This experience was shared with us by mum-of-two Mahima Jaggi, who hopes that by doing so she can reach out to many more mummies on how they can prevent and treat such accidents. We hope baby Armaan is healing well and is back to his normal, cheerful self. Here's wishing this family good health and happiness.
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