A 29-year-old woman has been left with horrific third-degree burns all over her breasts after she fainted into a pain of boiling chicken, which melted the skin on her chest and arms.
Abbie Reynolds nearly died in the agonizing accident on October 12, 2020, which occurred after she suddenly blacked out while chatting with her housemate – who actually helped to save her life by dragging her away from the searing hot pan, before calling an ambulance to their home.
Despite her roommate’s quick thinking, Abbie sustained ‘excruciating’ injuries that required three rounds of painful surgery and saw her forced to spend 20 days in the hospital while doctors attempted to repair the damage from her burns.
And even after all of the operations, she has been left with scars across her chest and arms that have left her struggling with her self confidence.
Injury: Abbie Reynolds, from California, was left with agonizing burns across her chest after she fainted into a pan of boiling chicken, which melted the skin on her breasts
Scars: The 29-year-old suffered third-degree burns on her boobs when she suddenly blacked out in her kitchen while her housemate was preparing chicken for dinner
Abbie is also struggling to come to terms with the trauma of her accident, which she described as ‘life-altering’, admitting that she doesn’t think she will ‘ever be the same again’ – either physically or mentally.
‘It was a life altering experience,’ the school psychologist said. ‘I’ll never be the same person I was physically or mentally prior to the accident. That’s a really difficult thing to accept.’
Speaking about the moments before her accident, Abbie recalled chatting to her roommate, events planner Margaret Williams, 30, before realizing that she was struggling to keep up with the conversation.
Her vision went blurry, and she started to see ‘black spots’.
Unable to blink them away, she figured she would go and lie down.
‘Margaret told me to go and sit down,’ Abbie explained.
‘The last thing I remember is walking towards the living room, but apparently, I stopped and turned to look back at the microwave that was above the stove. I blacked out and collapsed into the cooking food.’
When Abbie woke up two minutes later, she couldn’t bear the agony of her burns, describing it as the most ‘painful’ and ‘excruciating’ thing she has ever experienced.
Recovery: The school psychologist was rushed to hospital after the accident and had to undergo three different surgeries in an attempt to repair the damage caused by her burns
Lengthy: She spent a total of 20 days in the hospital, during which time doctors attempted to fix the appearance of her skin with an innovative procedure called RECELL, which failed
Fueled by adrenaline, she leaped up and ran out of the room screaming in agony.
‘It was excruciating,’ she recalled. ‘I thought I was going to die. I’ve never experienced anything so painful and I honestly don’t think I ever will again. Not even childbirth will be as painful.’
Abbie’s housemates chased after her to try and remove her bra and wet rags – while waiting for the EMTs to arrive. She was then rushed to MedStar Washington Hospital, where she underwent three surgeries.
Initially, doctors tried to correct the damage of the burns with an innovative procedure known as RECELL surgery, in which a small skin graft is placed into a buffering solution that allows it to then be sprayed back onto the patient.
The technique involves putting a sample of a burn victim’s skin into a suspension that can then be applied onto the body.
However, Abbie’s burns were so severe that the procedure failed – leaving her forced to endure two further operations in which doctors performed traditional skin grafts.
‘The first thing I felt when I saw my burns was shock, I’d never seen my skin look that way,’ she recalled.
‘Excruciating’: Speaking about the ‘life-altering’ accident, Abbie recalled screaming in agony when she woke up
Learning: Abbie says the experience has left her struggling with her self confidence – but it has also helped her to ‘be kinder to herself’
‘It was grey. Then I felt fear, I was completely freaked and scared of the unknown. But once I’d had time to process what had happened, I felt dread. Once I was over the initial shock, I realized that I’d be in for a long ride.
‘Waking up after each surgery was one of the most difficult parts. It was so traumatic.’
After 20 days in hospital, Abbie was able to head home where she is learning to accept her burns and embrace her new body image.
Abbie was discharged and able to go home on November 1, 2020.
She is now coming to terms with her scars.
‘The severity of the accident has been an incredibly difficult thing to accept,’ she said. ‘You basically have to mourn your old body and old life while trying to accept and appreciate your new self and life.
‘Now that I have all these massive scars on my body, it’s made me realize how much time I wasted worrying about small stupid imperfections that nobody else would have noticed.
‘But it’s forced me to be kinder to myself and to appreciate my body for all the wonderful things it’s done for me.’