When the Rescue Helicopter Crew visited Flaxmere’s Peterhead School last term, they were unexpectedly reunited with year 4 pupil Unique Te Kiri, who had been helped by the Rescue Helicopter several years earlier.
As a two-year-old, Unique had got herself tangled under another child’s feet as he took a piping hot bowl of noodles out of a microwave oven. The bowl fell and its contents splashed onto Unique’s shoulder, scalding and instantly blistering the toddler.
Her parents Letitia and Hohepa knew it was a serious injury, but didn’t predict the extent of intensive care and recovery procedures that would follow for several months.
Initially, Unique was transported by the Rescue Helicopter to Hawke’s Bay Regional Hospital, with a second transfer shortly after to Hutt Hospital’s Burns Unit.
Letitia said that it was a helpless feeling seeing their daughter in so much pain, but added that Unique settled down and stopped crying pretty quickly after the initial accident “The only time she really screamed was when they tried to give her medicine,” she says.
Today, Unique still has serious scarring on her shoulder but her family are happy with the extent of the healing and take some comfort that the hot liquid missed her head and face.
Unique’s parents were amazed at the level of professionalism of the emergency service from start to finish, adding that it ‘helped take the pressure off at what was a difficult time’. Unique says she has no memory of the incident and shrugs off the seriousness of the injury, but still keeps in her bedroom a teddy bear given to her by a Hutt Hospital nurse.