Baby almost dies from being scalded by drop of hot teaCascade

Little Alexander Caven-Atack was just ten months old when he almost died after being scalded with a drop of hot tea.

The little lad received a 10p piece-sized burn on September 3 last year. The scald was treated by doctors at Colchester General Hospital's accident and emergency department, but doctors missed an infection that had developed from the burn.

Five days later, Alexander's skin was blistering and peeling off his back, arms and face. He was rushed to the burns unit at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, where surgeons removed the infected skin during six operations.

He had 80 per cent of his top layer of skin removed with a scalpel, and spent almost a fortnight in hospital. His parents were warned their son may not survive.

Thankfully, Alexander has made a fully recovery, and now his parents, Sarah, 40, and Andrew, 60, from Essex, are warning of the dangers of the potentially fatal Scalded Skin Syndrome, an infection caused by the bacteria Staphylococcus Aureus, which was triggered by Alexander's small burn.

Baby almost dies from being scalded by drop of hot teaCascade


"A consultant at Broomfield told me after how lucky Alexander had been to survive," says Andrew, a music publisher. "If it had have been identified earlier it could have been treated with a course of antibiotics and creams."

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He was bandaged and we were presented with this little mummy with just his thumbs and one big toe showing. He spent two weeks in intensive care and had antibiotics administered intravenously.

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"He was fed by tube. Our normally smiley baby did not smile once in two weeks."

Alexander burnt himself last year when he grabbed his dad's cup of tea as they sat in the garden:

"'It tipped over him and over his bare legs. I ran with him to the kitchen and took his clothes off straight away.

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We want to use his ordeal to ensure the next child doesn't go through what he went through. He really could have died.

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A spokesman for Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust said: "If Mr Caven-Atack has concerns about any aspects of his son's care at our A&E department, we would encourage him to contact us as soon as possible so that we can investigate.

"Our dermatology department has no knowledge of any protocol that has been developed by the family's GP but we would be interested to hear from this particular doctor."

According to the NHS, 180 children are scalded by hot drinks every day.

If your child is scalded, here are the NHS guidelines on treating burns:

Stop the burning process as soon as possible.
This may mean removing the person from the area, dousing flames with water or smothering flames with a blanket.

Remove any clothing or jewellery near the burnt area of skin. However, don't try to remove anything that is stuck to the burnt skin because this could cause more damage.

Cool the burn with cool or lukewarm water for 10–30 minutes. Ideally within 20 minutes of the injury occurring. Never use ice, iced water or any creams or greasy substances, such as butter.

Keep yourself or the person warm. Use a blanket or layers of clothing, but avoid putting them on the injured area.

Cover the burn with cling film. Put the cling film in a layer over the burn, rather than wrapping it around a limb. A clean, clear plastic bag can be used for burns on your hand.

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