“Hospital did not have equipment to treat my burnt son”

PUBLISHED: 13:22 30 September 2010

Kieran Snelling with his mum Maria

Kieran Snelling with his mum Maria


The mother of a 17-year-old boy who was set on fire when lighting a bonfire critcised hospital bosses for not having the equipment to treat burn victims.

Kieran Snelling

Kieran Snelling, of Offenham Road, Mottingham, received burns to his face, neck, back of the head and arms when he was lighting a bonfire doused in petrol in the garden of a friend’s house last Saturday evening.

When the former Kemnal Technology student was taken to Queen Mary’s Hospital in Sidcup, his mother claims his burns were left untreated for nearly five hours before being transferred to a specialist burns unit in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

Mum Maria Thompson, 42, said: “The doctors and nurses were all wonderful but they didn’t have the right equipment.

“They hadn’t got a clue what to do as they lacked the equipment. They had nothing. They made him comfortable as they could with painkillers go but as far as treating the burns they didn’t have anything they could use.”

Kieran Snelling

It was only when a paramedic passed the teenager’s cubicle in the accident and emergency unit that he was given a special burns dressing with a cooling gel from his ambulance.

Mrs Thompson said: “The nurses were asking ‘what is that?’. The ambulance driver showed them and they were saying ‘that is brilliant’. I was scooping it out of the pack with my fingers and putting it on my son’s face.

“The government are running a casualty department when they don’t have enough staff.”

Mr Snelling, who wants to join at the Royal Air Force as an engineer was discharged from hospital on Monday but has to return today when the family are expecting to get the results of a skin scan to find out how deep the burns are.

Kieran Snelling

He told the Times: “I got blown up. I was starting a fire. My advice to teenagers starting bonfires would be ‘don’t do it’. I couldn’t feel much. I think I was in shock.”

A spokesperson for South London Healthcare NHS Trust said: “He was treated with a barrier dressing in the A&E department called Jelonet. It is a soft paraffin coated mesh. It is soothing and provides a barrier to the nerve ending that have been exposed and are registering a pain response. Photos of his injuries were sent to the local burns unit at East Grinstead, in order to confirm treatment as is normal practice.”

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