Paris Turkington is recovering in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.
Paris Turkington is recovering in the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. Photo Contributed

Teen burns victim fights back from 'moment of madness'

PARIS Turkington's 17th birthday was a sombre occasion which marked a significant point in her recovery from extensive burns.

It was the first time she had been able to communicate with parents Gary and Phoebe after spending 32 days in an induced coma in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital's intensive care unit.

Paris and her friend Matthew Richards suffered serious burns when accelerant was poured onto an open fire at a house party in Harristown on August 24.

Intensive care unit director Professor Jeffrey Lipman had set a goal to have Paris healthy enough to move from his ward before her September 26 birthday.

Mr and Mrs Turkington were grateful Prof. Lipman could fulfil his goal, but knew it was only the start of what would be a long and painful recovery.

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Mr Turkington yesterday spoke of the incredible resilience his daughter had shown since moving to the burns ward and the impact a moment of madness had had on all of their lives.

He and his wife will today move into a rented unit near to the hospital where their daughter is being treated.

They had been lucky enough to be able to stay with close friends in Brisbane since Paris and her friend Matthew Richards were burned at a backyard party in Harristown in August.

Mrs Turkington has not yet returned to their Wattle Brae Stud home at Pilton and Mr Turkington has only returned every few days.

"This is ongoing," Mr Turkington said.

"She is going to have to wear one of those pressure bandages for the next 12 months."

He said the bandage was being fitted to cover burns which went from Paris' toes to the top of her head.

Being in an induced coma has had serious effects on her muscle condition and voice.

Tubes in her throat have temporarily damaged her voice box, leaving her with the ability to whisper.

Since being admitted to hospital, Paris has undergone nine operations, the shortest of which took three-and-a-half hours.

Some of them went for up to seven-and-a-half hours.

Mrs Turkington said surgeons worked in a theatre which was temperature controlled at 40 degrees because Paris was unable to regulate her body temperature.

"They are amazing people," Mrs Turkington said.

Mr Turkington said Paris was undergoing daily therapy and was currently walking with assistance.

He said it was an excruciating process due to soft tissue damage to a muscle in her thigh.

"Tears rolled out of her eyes from the pain.

"She kept going.

"She's going to get there."

Support from the hospital, Paris' fellow students and the wider Toowoomba and equine community has been a massive boost to the Turkingtons' spirits.

"There have been heaps of food parcels and hundreds of cards from all of the kids.

"It has been lovely to know that the support has been there."

He said his daughter missed all of her friends at The Glennie School and wanted to get better so she could go back.

"We're hoping we will get her back to Glennie next year some time."

Her memory of being burned after someone poured accelerant onto a fire is clear.

"She didn't even realise until the fireball came at her."

Friends of the Turkingtons took it upon themselves to organise a fundraising dinner to go towards a Glennie School trust fund set up for Paris' treatment.

Leading horse trainer Peter Moody, who is a long time friend of Mr Turkington, will tell the story of his famous mare Black Caviar at the dinner on November 12.

A range of impressive auction items will also be on offer.

Tickets to the Toowoomba Turf Club event will cost $190 each and are available by calling the school on 4688 8888.


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