An American tourist who sustained severe burns across her entire back when her clothes caught fire at a hostel is stuck in Australia with rising medical debt.
In May, Brianna Jonovitch, 30, was using the public kitchen while living at a hostel in Hobart when she was unexpectedly set ablaze.
The skin on her back, underarms, hands, and chest was burned by a stovetop that had been left unattended and managed to catch the back of her blouse.
After spending 30 seconds in direct contact with the flames, Ms. Jonovitch was left with second- and third-degree burns covering up to 13% of her body.
The 30-year-old woman claimed she initially struggled to comprehend how the fire had started because she had left her burner off for a short period of time without realizing another had been left on.
She told Daily Mail Australia, “I could feel the fire becoming very huge, very quickly, and I could see panic on my friend’s face as she tried to swat it out but couldn’t.
“I believe I just realized I had to do something or else it was going to get really horrible really fast,” the speaker said.
She promptly hit the ground since she was reminded of being instructed to drop and roll during a fire at school.
The backpacker continued, “I’m quite sure the tiles didn’t help and by that time the fire was the size of my back.”
The moment I realized that lifting the two button-up shirts I was wearing over my head would be the only way out is something I still vividly recall.
It was terrifying to consider how doing that might direct the flames toward my face and hair, but there was no other option, so I went ahead and did it.
The severity of the incident, which required the woman to spend three days in the hospital, is shockingly revealed in images posted by her sister Felicia Faulkner.
Despite the fact that she was wearing several layers, the fire spread more quickly since the kitchen’s tile floor was oily.
Her hands, underarms, chest, and nearly the entire back were burned as she had to pull her blazing shirt off over her head.
Since then, Ms. Jonovitch has relocated to her sister’s Melbourne house where she is still undergoing burn therapy.
Several times every week, we had to bring her to the burns unit at Alfred Hospital as an outpatient so that her back could be cleansed and her wounds could be bandaged. Her sister added, “This has been a hard and arduous rehabilitation.”
She lacked health insurance at the time and was on a working visa in Australia.
Since then, her sister has launched a GoFundMe with the aim of raising $12,500 to assist with the bills.
Ms. Jonovitch claimed that she is “recovering well” despite the terrible burns she sustained.
It was really uncomfortable at first, and I required a lot of assistance. But now that the most of the discomfort has subsided, the scarring is all that has to be done,’ she said.
She also expressed gratitude to the medical staff in Hobart who took care of her.
They truly went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure my comfort and, when possible, to make me laugh, she continued.
“It definitely lifted my spirits during the entire procedure,” I said.