Brave Oscar – electrocuted by a lamp

Claire's son was in serious danger

Within minutes of playing in the lounge room, Claire’s son was in serious danger. 

Here, Claire, 25, shares the story in her own words…

Have a great day at work,’ I said, kissing my hubby Hugh, 26.

Then I scooped up our son Oscar, 14 months, and took him to the lounge room.

‘Let’s play,’ I grinned, grabbing his favourite toys and sprawling them out on the floor.

Oscar smiled and babbled away as we spent a few hours reading books and playing games.

When I sat on the couch, Oscar toddled around the room, doing his usual lap past the sliding doors that went out into the garden.

But suddenly, I heard a weird zapping sound and a loud thud, followed by Oscar crying out in pain.

I saw him lying on his back, his head propped on a corner of the wall.

‘Oh Oscar,’ I said, as he screamed and sobbed.

He was right by our tripod lamp so I assumed he must have tripped over the wire.

Rushing over, I noticed he was clutching the lamp’s cord and the end that went into the lamp had exposed wires hanging out.

When I saw something white in Oscar’s mouth, I assumed it was a piece of the cord and tried to pull it out.

But as I did, a burning scent came from his mouth.

The white stuff isn’t the cord, I realised.

It was a burn on his tongue – Oscar had been electrocuted!

When the cord was removed, the power didn’t trip and it was still plugged into the power point.

Seconds later, blood started pouring out of my boy’s mouth.

Holding Oscar in one arm, I frantically called an ambulance.

‘I think my son’s been electrocuted,’ I sobbed.

Oscar had been electrocuted
Oscar had been electrocuted (Credit: Supplied)

Oscar continued to bleed as I held him, but I managed to calm his tears.

When four ambulances arrived and a paramedic said he needed to be airlifted to Westmead Children’s Hospital, I panicked about how serious it must be.

I’d already tried to phone Hugh, but he hadn’t picked up, so I called my mum Jane, filling her in.

‘Please tell Hugh!’ I pleaded.

Oscar was given painkillers, but the paramedic said they were worried the swelling of his tongue would block his airways.

‘We’re going to intubate him when he reaches the helicopter,’ they explained.

I stayed by Oscar’s side as we were driven to the helipad.

When we arrived, he was heavily sedated and they put a tube down his throat to help him breathe.

Thankfully, Hugh got the message and met me there.

‘Is he okay?’ he asked.

‘I don’t know,’ I cried.

We agreed Hugh would go home to pack our bags, then meet us at the Sydney hospital, while I went with Oscar in the helicopter.

At Emergency, doctors and nurses surrounded us.

Oscar couldn't eat for days
Oscar couldn’t eat for days (Credit: Supplied)
Oscar in hospital
Oscar in hospital (Credit: Supplied)

‘We’ve got to make sure the burn hasn’t travelled down his throat or affected his heart,’ a doctor explained.

Confirming Oscar had third-degree burns on his tongue, but not his heart, they kept him in ICU.

When Hugh arrived, I burst into tears, worried he was going to blame me.

‘I was the one meant to be watching him,’ I sobbed.

‘It’s not your fault, darl’, accidents happen. We’ll get through this together,’ he reassured me.

The next day, doctors woke Oscar.

By now, he had improved and his tongue wasn’t as swollen.

Moved to a burns unit, he was taught how to eat and swallow again.

Oscar had only been eating solids for six months and now he was back to eating pureed foods again.

Luckily, he continued to improve, and the third day, we got to take him home.

But a few days later, my boy tripped and bit down on his tongue, making it bleed again.

Our local hospital gave him painkillers, but Oscar was refusing to eat or drink, and dribbling so much because he couldn’t swallow his saliva.

Returning to hospital, he was given stronger medication.

By now he had lost so much weight because he couldn’t eat.

It was heartbreaking.

‘We’re going to put him on a high calorie diet,’ the nurse explained to us.

At first, he couldn’t even eat ice-cream. But as the painkillers started to work, his ability to eat returned.

After another four nights in hospital, our boy was discharged again.

And as his tongue healed, Oscar continued to put on weight.

Oscar is so strong
Oscar with me and Hugh (Credit: Supplied)

Then, at a follow-up appointment a few weeks later, the doctor remarked how impressed they were at his recovery.

‘He’s our miracle baby,’ Hugh smiled.

Later, we discovered that Oscar took 240 volts to his mouth when he put the frayed wires in his mouth.

It shouldn’t have been that easy for him to pull out and the lamp’s manufacturer is looking into it.

Now 18 months old, Oscar is back to his normal, happy self.

His tastebuds, which he initially lost, are growing back and he’s eating normally.

But I’m just pleased that my strong boy pulled through.

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