Following the deaths of his mother and brother in quick succession, David, a construction site foreman, was having problems sleeping. He was so exhausted he visited an emergency GP one Saturday evening who prescribed sleeping tablets. He took one when he got home and fell into a deep sleep on the sofa in front of his gas fire.
He woke to find his dog, Cain, tugging at his leg, and quickly realised the room was filled with smoke. He struggled to find his feet, but managed to get out of the house, and made sure Cain was with him and out of danger too.
Not immediately realising the severity of his injuries, he called a taxi firm he regularly used and asked them to take him to hospital, not thinking for one moment that he actually needed an ambulance. The taxi driver immediately saw how serious David’s injuries were, with his entire upper torso burnt, and having to put out fire in David’s hair when he arrived.
He rushed David to hospital where the trauma team took over; this is the last David recalls as he was immediately placed in an induced coma.
Quite simply, if it hadn’t been for Cain, David knows he wouldn’t be here.
David first approached The Katie Piper Foundation in 2020, 3 years after sustaining his injuries. He was dependent on alcohol, sleeping on the sofa, not leaving his house and in a poor psychological state. He regularly considered taking his own life and couldn’t see a future.
The Katie Piper Foundation worked with the NHS to enrol him on a drug and alcohol detox programme and then, once he had stopped drinking, began intensive and bespoke rehabilitation support.
With significant and specialist psychological support, David has been able to come to terms with the emotional impact of his injuries. We provided a personal trainer and physiotherapy services, enabling David to improve his scarring and regain his physical strength – to the point where he can now take Cain on daily walks again.
We empowered him to make changes and improvements to his living arrangements and worked with him to improve his mental health and wellbeing.
David was proud to be the first patient in our new rehabilitation unit this summer where, alongside other therapies, he engaged with a career consultant, and is now starting to move towards returning to work – something he didn’t ever envisage being possible.
David’s journey demonstrates the impact our work has on survivors, and how we support people to not just survive but thrive in life again.