Healing beyond the burn

Dr. Hynes and Keira, age 14


It was a November afternoon in 2017 when 9-year-old Keira Mackenzie hopped into the car with her mom, Terresa, to go to the doctor’s office. Terresa had a tradition of buying coffee and tea for the nurses and doctors at the family practice.

At the local drive-through, five drinks were placed in a four-drink holder. As Terresa handed the tray to Keira, the unsecured drink tipped. Startled by the sudden pain, Keira jerked away, causing the remaining four piping hot  drinks to fall into Keira’s lap.

“It hurt so much, I couldn’t even cry, I just screamed,” Keira recalled.

The family raced to the local hospital for treatment. When her second and third-degree burns sent her into septic  shock, a sudden and dangerous drop in her blood pressure, Keira was transported to BC Children’s Hospital.

Keira was admitted to the Hudson Family Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and, once stable, was moved to the surgical ward where the family was introduced to Dr. Sally Hynes, the Burn Director at BC Children’s.

Dr. Hynes leads a burn care team that supports patients like Keira as they navigate both the physical and emotional
trauma that is often associated with burn injuries. This highly-trained team plays a critical role in caring for the unique needs of patients and families before, during and after treatment.

Each year at BC Children’s Hospital, approximately 150 children are treated for new burn injuries each year. “Children recovering from a burn injury are faced with many challenges,” Dr. Hynes said. “Our multidisciplinary
burn care team is walking alongside patients and families during a very overwhelming time, helping to navigate their fears, anxieties and physical healing.”

Few professions understand the challenges of burn injuries better than fire fighters. Motivated to help transform pediatric burn care at BC Children’s Hospital, the BC Professional Fire Fighters’ Burn Fund made an incredible $1 million gift. The Burn Fund gift will upgrade and enhance the burn care suite to better meet patient needs by relocating the waiting area so families can be closer to their children, enhancing the space with purposeful art to create a healing environment and much more.

It has been five years since Keira’s accident. The bright young teenager has become a passionate advocate for burn care in BC, holding school fundraisers and speaking at events to educate others on the important resources needed for young patients with burn injuries.

“Somebody asked Keira recently what her favourite part of her childhood was,” Terresa said. “She actually, surprisingly, said her burn. I think the reason is because of the team she had at BC Children’s and the community
support she has gotten from it.”


This article was originally featured in the Fall 2022 issue of Shine magazine.

Shine Fall 2022 | Download the PDF

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