Matt Lloyd last August suffered 60 to 70 per cent full-body burns, and he woke up in intensive care at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, where stayed for six weeks before being transferred to the hospital’s burns unit.
The wounds were self-inflicted, following a relationship breakdown – and the 54-year-old from Johnstone says he is speaking out to “let people know that there is hope – things can and do get better”.
He explained that the first thing he remembers after the incident was speaking on the phone to his two sons in Birmingham. "I [felt] guilty about what I had put my family through and explaining to my children and my family and telling them that I didn’t do it because I didn’t love them. I just didn’t love myself at that time. That was the hardest part.”
Doctors operated as quickly as possible to save his life. After admission to the burns unit, he would undergo another four operations and a lot of rehabilitation.
The NHS says that more than 250 patients from across Scotland are admitted to the ward each year. “As well as surgeons and nurses, patients are supported by physiotherapists, occupational therapists, healthcare support workers who, with great care, help to dress wounds, and mental health teams who address the impacts caused by the trauma,” it said, adding that some patients spend weeks and sometimes months on the ward, before continuing care through the on-site burns clinic.
With their help Mr Lloyd got back on track and was discharged in October, although his treatment continues.
Originally from West Bromwich, he moved to Scotland 12 years ago, and before his injury was a manager for Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation, setting up depots and managing three charity shops.
He hopes to work as a charity volunteer and aims to inspire other patients who may find their injury daunting.
“You can survive it, I want to share my story and let people know that everything will be okay,” he said, also thanking the entire team who looked after him, from porters and domestics to surgeons.
“The nurses knew that I was on my own here in Scotland and they were fantastic, they were so caring and so gentle and they just played a massive part in me getting better. They used to go out and buy me sandwiches and cakes – just amazing. I really believe that without their help, I wouldn’t be here.”
Catriona Murray, a senior physiotherapist on the unit, said: “We look for little wins every day. A burn injury is often a life-changing injury, not just for the patient, but for their family too… our goal is to help get people back to functioning as they were before their injury."
Occupational therapist Stephanie Grassick said: “It’s all about patients gaining in confidence and sometimes that takes a little negotiation and encouragement to help people to get their lives back.”
If you need support, you can contact your GP, and the Samaritans are on hand 24 hours a day on 116 123 or via www.samaritans.org.