Kake child scorched by boiling water

Posted: Thursday, August 03, 2000

Kake's water problems have indirectly resulted in a family tragedy.

Brittany Bourdon, 3, was accidentally burned by boiling water -- water from Gunnuk Creek being boiled to purify it -- at her Kake home Tuesday night.

``She is burned from her chin to her abdomen, 25 to 30 percent of her body,'' said family friend Janet Sheldon, an administrative assistant at Kake Tribal Corporation.

``It looks like she is wearing a T-shirt of blisters,'' Sheldon said. ``She ran a temperature of 106 degrees last night, but it is down to 101 this morning.''

The aging dam at Kake's water reservoir failed last week, leaving the town without safe drinking water for several days. Temporary measures have restored a minimal water system, but a permanent solution is still being sought.

Delphine Bourdon, Brittany's mother, said she was microwaving water to dissolve yeast to make bread when Tuesday's night's accident occurred.

``And Brittany got to the microwave before I did,'' she said.

A Coast Guard helicopter transported the child and her mother to Sitka at 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, where an ambulance crew took them to Mount Edgecumbe Hospital. Robert Young, an administrator at Mount Edgecumbe, said the girl was medevaced to the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage at 4 a.m. Wednesday.

``We are doing OK this morning,'' Bourdon said.

``Brittany got some sleep finally. They are trying to feed her now, but she doesn't have an appetite; she just wants to drink water and chocolate milk,'' Bourdon said from her daughter's bedside.

Brittany was scheduled to be immersed in a therapeutic whirlpool bath this morning to gently loosen damaged skin and speed healing, Bourdon said.

``It looks like we will be here for a while. They will have to do skin grafts on her eventually,'' she said. ``She's in pain. They're giving her shots, but it doesn't take care of all of it.''

Brittany turned 3 on July 23. She has a younger sister, Robyn, 19 months. Her father, John Bourdon, is a commercial fisherman.

Donations for family expenses can be sent to the attention of Delphine Bourdon at ANMC, In-Patient Pediatrics, 2 West, 4315 Diplomacy Drive, Anchorage, 99503, Sheldon said.

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