A care home worker has spoken of how she fell into a hot oven during an epileptic seizure which left her horrifically scarred and on the verge of losing her fingers.
Shaz McCormack, 20, from Maidstone, Kent, endured a four-minute convulsion while cooking a roast dinner for her family.
She suffered third-degree burns to her hands and arms and needed skin grafts to repair the injuries.
It was only when a neighbour heard the banging next door and called the fire brigade that Ms McCormack was finally rescued.
Speaking about her ordeal, Ms McCormack said: ‘I’ve been left scarred all over my hands which I’m very self-conscious about.
Scroll down for video
Care home worker Shaz McCormack (pictured aged 20) suffered horrific burns after falling into a hot oven during an epileptic fit
‘I always wear a jumper to cover them up, even in hot weather.
‘Doctors almost had to amputate my fingers due to the severity of the burns.
‘It’s hard to believe that this happened due to my epilepsy but I’m trying to think positively.
‘I want people to take illnesses such as epilepsy seriously as they can have a huge impact on people’s lives.’
Ms McCormack was diagnosed with epilepsy in July 2013 when she was just 14 after suffering a seizure one morning before school.
But it was two years later when Ms McCormack, then aged 17, decided to cook for her family after her mother Clare, 42, left her at home by herself.
She said: ‘I had a day off college and thought I’d cook dinner for my family when they arrived home.
‘I was roasting potatoes in the oven and when I pulled the tray out to turn them over, the room went black.
Ms McCormack was left with third degree burns on her hands and arms after falling into the oven
Her fingers almost had to be amputated due to the horrific burns she suffered
‘What must have been minutes later, I woke up surrounded by firemen with a silver shock blanket wrapped around me.
‘I was extremely confused. And my hands felt like they were on fire.
‘My skin was tight and hot, and I couldn’t bend my fingers.
‘The firemen told me I’d had a seizure and collapsed, with my arms still inside the boiling hot oven.
‘Luckily, my neighbour had heard the bangs and when she couldn’t get an answer from me, she dialled 999.’
She was given morphine by doctors to help her with the pain and rushed to Maidstone Hospital in Kent, before being transferred to the specialist burns unit at Frinstead Hospital.
She was told she had burnt through her blood vessels in her limbs and the burns were so deep she was left with blackened skin which was completely numb.
Ms McCormack said: ‘Mum was distraught and couldn’t stop crying.
‘Doctors told me my skin was too fragile to go into theatre so I had my first skin graft two days after my accident.
‘Then, later that week, doctors also inserted temporary metal plates to support my fingers so I didn’t move my skin.
Two images of the injuries which Ms McCormack sustained to her arms shortly after her injury
The scar on her arm has gone down but is still visible
She added: ‘Doctors didn’t know if they’d be able to save my fingers and thought I’d lose them all.
‘I was hysterical when they told me, luckily mum was able to calm me down.
‘And thankfully doctors were able to save my fingers.’
She broke down in tears once the dressing around her hands was removed for the first time 10 days after the accident.
‘My hands were red raw. I just sobbed,’ she said.’I felt disfigured.’
With a second skin graft, physiotherapy and applying skin to the burns every day, the feeling in her hands eventually returned.
Despite this, Ms McCormack said she is still struggling to come to terms with the scars she has been left with and now hopes to raise awareness about the dangers of epilepsy.
‘I will be scarred for life and I’m still unable to straighten the little finger on my right hand out.
‘I hate my scars and cover them up all the time.
‘In April 2017, I had surgery to implant a brain nerve simulator which sends regular signals to my brain to calm down any irregular activity.
‘I’ve now been free of seizures for 14 months.
‘I want to raise awareness of epilepsy as people don’t understand how dangerous it can be – and how life can change in an instant.’
Her injuries have healed slightly although Ms McCormack is still self-conscious about her injuries