A mother-of-two was left with third-degree burns on her head, ears, neck, and face after she accidentally set her face on fire while trying to light a cigarette.
When Louise Tanner from West Sussex wanted to smoke and could not find a lighter, she decided to use the hob of a cooker. But when she bent down to light her cigarette, her hair, which was covered in hair spray, immediately went up in flames.
“That day was the worst day of my life but I’m just thankful to be alive,” Louise said as she was left with third-degree burns on her head, neck, ears, and face.
“I’m now speaking out to raise awareness for burn victims and let them know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Speaking about the incident, the mother-of-two said: “I clicked on the gas ring to light the cigarette, but as I leaned over to take a puff, my hair went up in flames.
“I began running in circles around the kitchen, howling in pain. The flames quickly spread from my head down to my face and neck.
“I kept screaming for help before desperately ripping my hair out from the roots.”
A few minutes later, she managed to place her head under the cold water as she cried with relief.
After the incident, Louise said she was completely exhausted that she went upstairs to rest. Several hours later, her now ex-husband had found her head had been severely burnt.
He contacted emergency services and the mother-of-two was rushed to a hospital where she was informed that she had third-degree burns.
“I felt like someone had beaten me up. Thankfully, a nurse appeared and gave me a dose of morphine,” Louise recalled.
“After I was bandaged up, two nurses used paper-clips to open my eyes so they could prise out my contact lenses.”
Speaking about the moment she saw her face for the first time, she said: “I felt so ugly. It was like I was in a nightmare and I couldn’t wake up.”
The mother-of-two was moved to East Grinstead Hospital where she received a donor skin graft.
“After the hour-long operation, I felt sick. My face looked like a quilt, it was devastating,” Louise expressed.
“I couldn’t stop thinking about how all of this could’ve been avoided if I’d just been more careful.”
More than a year after the ordeal, Louise’s face has healed but she still has to be careful when going out on a sunny day.
“I can’t thank the doctors and surgeons enough,” she said.
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