Tough recovery from burns
Leith Morine’s first baby was barely a month old when he was torn away from her due to an unfortunate accident.
A pot of cooking oil had been left on the stove too long and Leith grabbed it to get it out of the house to avoid a fire. It burst into flames as he turned from the stove.
But as he headed towards the lawn to put it on a tree stump the cold air caused it to combust and it basically exploded all over Leith.
While he managed to turn away slightly in order to protect his face, he was extensively burnt.
“It turns out that when you cool down oil too quickly it combusts,” says Leith.
After ripping his clothes off, he stood under a cold shower for an hour and a half. No ambulance was available due to other patients being transported to Whangarei but Dargaville Fire and Emergency made the 40-odd km drive to the Donnelly’s Crossing farm.
“Basically, they did a quick assessment and I had burns to 25% of my body. Oil burns are some of the worst you can get. The pain was definitely up there. It’s a pain you can’t describe.”
The accident happened at 8.30pm at night and Leith was in Middlemore Hospital by 11pm where he stayed for a month. Thankfully his partner and baby were able to stay with him throughout.
“I have ended up with skin grafts everywhere – all the way up the right-hand side of my stomach and ribs, my arm, nose and cheek.”
Leith’s vision in his right eye is also blurry and that affects his balance but that should come right over time.
However, the summer heat and being in the sun is very uncomfortable and Leith has to not only cover up with regular applications of sunscreen, he wears compression bandages to compress the scarring. He also has monthly check-ups at Middlemore and is likely to have more surgery to smooth out the edge of the scars.
“The heat just about flattens you. Last summer was the first time I have prayed for winter to come but it could have been a lot worse and as soon as I am able to, I will be out on the farm.”
As a dirt biker, Leith fully expected to need the Northland Rescue Chopper to pick him up one day – just not in the circumstances on that fateful night of December 8, 2020.
“I encourage people to donate to the Northland Rescue Chopper. The amount of flights they do every year shows they’re kind of needed,” says Leith.