It's looking good for 80% burns Pippie
Isabella "Pippie" Kruger on Tuesday looked just as she did on the first day after the accident that burned 80% of her body as she lay sedated in an intensive care unit covered with bandages.
“It’s like reliving day one,” said her mother Anice, “but this is the good part”, she added smiling.
After a gel fire lighter exploded in her father’s hands on New Year’s Eve last year, Pippie was set alight. Doctors told Pippie’s parents Anice and Erwin that their daughter would die due to the severity of the burns. The next day she was given a 10% chance of survival. Six months later Pippie is alive and in a stable condition.
Her mother calls her daughters’ journey a “miracle”. Kruger says her daughter is not only the first South African who had her own skin grown artificially for her in a laboratory in Boston, US, but is the first South African child who has lived after experiencing such severe burns.
Forty-one sheets of skin were grown for Pippie in Boston from two small two by six centimetre grafts of her own skin. The doctors placed the skin, which arrived in Johannesburg on Monday, on her wounds in a successful operation at Netcare Garden City hospital on Monday night.
Dr Sven Kili, from Sanofi Genzyme, the company that grows the skin, said: “There was nothing [during the operation] to suggest any problems, so we are very hopeful it will be very successful. We will wait for good news”.
Smiling and walking with a bounce in her step, Pippie’s mom’s is also full of optimism. She puts her attitude down to her Christian faith. “How can I not be positive? I have God on my side.” She is delighted her daughter has had the operation.
Plastic surgeon Dr Ridwan Mia told Kruger he would eventually have to use skin from the 20% of Pippie’s body that had not been burnt to cover her wounds. But Kruger asked him “Please don’t scar her anymore” and begged him to wait for an alternative.
When Kruger first learnt about the procedure to grow skin artificially for severe burn victims, developed by a Harvard Professor, she thought it was a hoax. “There are so many scams,” she said. But after learning it was genuine, she was adamant her child would have the procedure which cost about R730 000. The money has been raised.
The operation yesterday meant all of Pippie’s burns were covered in one operation, saving her from years of skin grafts. Mia said after the operation, “I think there is a big sense of relief about it. Up until now it has been damage control - cleaning her wounds. Now we have given her a chance.”
Doctors will know in seven to ten days if the skin has grown successfully onto Pippie’s body.
For those who want to
donate to help cover Pippie’s expenses or to help children needing similar
treatment, the bank account is as follows:
C A Kruger
Absa Savings Account 14781 69228
Branch code 144 547