Burn Care International - Maciel Fernandez Peredo

Maciel smiled and laughed during our entire visit!!!

"I was burned three years ago, when I was 15 years old.  I was out of town with my family, celebrating Carnival.  We had a fire going and my mom took a bottle of alcohol and poured it onto the fire.  Instantly, the flames leapt towards me!  My arms were on fire and my mom ran at me to help me.  However, she ended up pouring more alcohol on me by accident and then my chest and face caught fire.  My father grabbed the alcohol bottle and threw it and then he pushed my mother away from me.

An ambulance took me from Cipe Cipe to Cochabamba...it was a two hour trip.  I was brought to the Viedma Hospital the same day of my accident.  The childrens' area for burned victims is only for those 14-years-old and below.  I was 15, so I had to go into the adult area.  They were not prepared for me and didn't know that much about burns and how to care for burned patients.  The doctor never came to my room...not even once.  The nurses were cruel and would taunt me about how dumb I was to have been burned by alcohol.  

I was so worried for my mom, dad and sister.  We were all close and I didn't know if they could handle my accident.  They didn't know what to do and my mom felt guilty that it was all her fault.  She had to go to a psychologist to receive treatment.

I had to have skin grafts taken from my legs and put on my arm and chest.  I was in the hospital for two months.  I was released and sent home without any Physical Therapy.  I wasn't told about Pressure Garments.  No one told me about the importance of nutrition.  The doctors didn't give the hospital permission for me to talk to a counselor, psychiatrist or psychologist.  I just went home as I was and returned to school.

I don't have any photos from my accident or burns because my parents didn't want me to see what I looked like.  My parents wouldn't let me look at myself in mirrors, but one night in the hospital, I saw myself in the mirror on the elevator.  I saw that I was missing my eyebrows and and a lot of hair.  

About a month later, I came back to the hospital because I figured out that I needed Physical Therapy.  I couldn't move my neck.  The Physical Therapy hurt so much.  They were stretching my skin every way it could bend.  I would have to go three times a day and I would cry through the entire appointment.  I endured this for about six months.  My Physical Therapy was quicker and easier than many others because I played basketball at school and was very active...this helped my body stay healthy!  I still do Physical Therapy at home in the morning and night...then in the afternoons, I have someone come to my house to help me.

I wore my garment all day every day for two years...only removing it to bathe.  I had to go to the clinic more often in the beginning for Pressure Garment adjustments, but now I just go once per month.  After two years, I stopped wearing my Pressure Garments, but then I went to the USA for more treatments.  I had many things done to my skin to help the scars heal, so I am back to wearing my Pressure Garment all the time again.  I actually feel more like myself with them on.  I was burned and now this is a part of who I am...when I am not wearing my Pressure Garments, I feel uncomfortable and don't like the feeling of my clothes touching my skin.

If I could talk to other patients, I would tell them that Physical Therapy is very hard, but they must do it.  It is for their benefit.  I would tell them that life is good and more precious and now they have a second chance.  They are better now, stronger and they have to accept themselves for who they are and how they look.  I also would tell them that they need someone to talk to...they need to be able to talk about their accident.  Also, patients need to be told what happens after they are burned.  They need to be taught how to care for their bodies, their skin, not to go in the sun, to use creams, to eat good food, etc.  

There are too many people getting burned because they are uneducated.  We should teach them the dangers of gas, fire, electricity and more.  I believe that this can be done through advertisements, posters and TV.  And once someone is burned, hospitals should have staff who are burn survivors that walk around and talk to the patients...the patients need to see that someone else was burned and survived...they need to see that they will also be OK."

  People who are burned need to be treated with kindness and compassion...they need to be given all the necessary tools to heal emotionally and physically...they need much more than what 
Maciel was given!!!

Please help Burn Care International improve the live of burned victims all over the world!!!

     Please CLICK HERE to visit BCI's website to learn more about our important ministry.  You can DONATE ONLINE by scrolling to the bottom of the website and clicking the DONATE button.  Or you can MAIL A CHECK to:  Burn Care International, 419 Woodland Drive, Florence, SC 29501.  All donations are tax-deductible and will change the life of a burned victim!!!

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