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8 August 2016, 09:36
The MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, Gordon Henderson, has been released from hospital, ten days after suffering burns to 30% of his body in a bonfire accident at his home in Eastchurch.
He was hurt when fumes from the petrol he was using to start the fire exploded. He was initially taken by his wife to the minor injuries clinic at Sheppey Community Hospital before being transferred by Air Ambulance to Tunbridge Wells hospital, and later on to the specialist burns unit in the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead.
In a post on his facebook page, Mr Henderson said he is delighted to be back home again and despite having a way to go to get back to full health, he feels he is on the mend.
He wrote that he wanted to explain exactly what happened in the hope that other people will learn from what was a "horrendous experience".
He said, "When setting a bonfire I often use a small amount of petrol to get started. I am always very careful when doing this and I ensure that the newspaper lighting fuse is nowhere near any part of the bonfire that has come in contact with petrol.
"However, on this occasion, I failed to take into account that my new bonfire enclosure would create a build-up of petrol fumes. That, my friends, was a problem I had not anticipated. When I lit the bonfire it was those fumes that exploded, not the petrol itself!
"Because the fire was contained on three sides the exploding fumes had nowhere to go, except forward - towards me. My hair caught fire and I was badly burned on my face, back, sides, chest, both arms and right leg. In fact, my left leg was the only part of my body to escape (relatively) unscathed.
"Thankfully, there was a hosepipe close by (positioned for just such an eventuality) and my wife, Louise, had the good sense to immediately douse me with water for 10 minutes. If she had not taken such immediate action then I might well be dead, and that is not being over dramatic!"
He has thanked all the NHS staff who had a part in treating him and making him feel comfortable during his hospital stay. He wrote on his facebook page, "Despite the pain I have suffered during the past couple of weeks I could not help but be impressed by the dedication, professionalism, hard work and good humour of all the NHS staff who cared for me and their many other patients. They were exceptional.
"During my 10 day stay in hospital I learned much about our fantastic NHS and the pressures under which it is operating.
One fact I was surprised to learn from staff in East Grinstead, was that many of the burns they treat are petrol related. It appears that I am not the only stupid fool who uses petrol to start bonfires. And, believe me, my action was foolish and is not something I will be doing again.
"So, to anybody out there who is in the habit of using petrol to start a bonfire, or is tempted to do so in the future, I would urge you to resist such temptation. Think of what happened to me and remember that the same thing could happen to you.
Your skin could end up looking like mine did, or, worse, you could end up DEAD!"