Burn girl's triumph

Pippie Kruger, 3, is set to leave ICU today after recovering sufficiently from burns she endured to over 80% of her body 7 months ago, according to News24.  The brave little girl was given 10% chance of surviving by her doctors, but has proven herself a fighter, inspiring many South Africans to rally support for her.

The day life changed for Pippie

Isabella "Pippie" Kruger was enjoying family time on New Year's Eve when a bottle of firelighter being used by her father to light a braai exploded onto her. Doctors at the hospital said at the time that they had never seen such extreme burns, let alone in such a young child, and held little expectation that she would survive.

Complete strangers have been captivated by Pippie's plight, which prompted ground-breaking skin graft surgery using skin cultivated in a US laboratory. The cultivated skin had to be flown over in what became a race against time as medics dashed through rush-hour traffic in order to make sure it was still fresh enough to be used in surgery.

Despite becoming very close to not making it- Pippie’s heart has stopped beating five times, her kidneys have failed and she has had pneumonia- she has managed to bounce back. Her mother and father, Anice and Erwin, have battled to cope with the past 7 months, Anice only having returned home for 3 days, as being close to their little girl has become their priority.

Highlighting the costs of burn tratment

In even more good news, the R700 000 required for the flights of the skin and the surgery have been recovered by fundraising activities, including friends who have rallied on Facebook pages. The awareness brought to the surgical procedure, of which Pippie was the first recipient on the continent could be instrumental in developing local medical infrastructure to perform similar procedures with locally cultivated skin.

According to the Mail and Guardian, "Epicel produces skin for people with extensive burn wounds by extracting stem cells from small patches of patients’ healthy skin. They are placed on a layer of inactive mice cells and fed with special proteins that allow them to grow into thin layers of skin that can cover burns."

Pippie will spend the next 6 months at a rehabilitation clinic- burn victims require extensive physiotherapy, speech therapy and other treatment, but she does seem to be firmly on the road to recovery, a road which will include more painful reconstructive surgery and other treatment over the next few years.

Perhaps this one brave child's battle will be of benefit to countless other burn victims, and Parent24 wishes her happiness on her road to recovery.

Do you think all of the media attention given to Pippie will be of benefit to other burn victims?

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