A nine-year-old girl was left permanently scarred after suffering a near-fatal electric shock in a hotel swimming pool.
Jade Miller was playing in a water feature at a resort in Siem Reap, Cambodia, when she knelt on electric wiring and was knocked unconscious.
The shock paralysed her from the neck down, and left her unable to speak or see anything. It also disrupted her heartbeat, damaged her cardiac muscle and caused deep burns on her left leg.
Her parents Meredith, 48, and Simon, 59, spent around £20,000 chartering a flight to take Jade from Siem Reap to a hospital in Bangkok, Thailand, where she could see paediatric cardiologists.
Staff at the Golden Temple Hotel claim she only suffered burns from the heat of the lamp, but doctors diagnosed her as having had an electric shock.
Jade, who was born in America but now lives in Chiang Mai with her parents, has dual UK/US citizenship as her dad is a builder from Bristol.
The schoolgirl was on holiday with her mum and some family friends in July this year when the incident accident happened.
Meredith, who felt a jolt of electricity herself when she scooped up her unconscious daughter, rushed her to Royal Angkor International Hospital, where doctors said she needed to be transferred to Bangkok Hospital Medical Centre.
‘They said that she was lucky to be alive and that the next 48 hours were critical,’ Meredith said. ‘Her heart condition was so severe that they were unable at that point to carry out any treatment to her burns. It was appalling.’
The family claims Golden Temple paid for Jade’s first night in hospital, but refused to cover the rest of her medical costs – which, with the chartered plane included, came to around £30,000.
Jade spent just under a week in hospital initially, before returning three weeks later for skin grafts.
However, she has now been left with permanent scars where the skin was removed from her back and stomach to patch up the burns on her legs.
‘We’re just happy she’s still with us – it really was touch and go at one point,’ Simon said. ‘She still has to speak to a psychologist once a week to get through the trauma.
‘We just want to make sure that people know about the lack of safety measures in these places. It really is abysmal. We don’t want anyone else to go through what we went through.’
Luon Thea, general manager of the Golden Temple Hotel, said Jade was playing in a ‘restricted area’ of the pool 15 minutes after it closed, and the injury was caused by heat from the lamps, rather than an electric shock.
He said they were not willing to cover the cost of the private plane transfer, but they did pay the initial hospital costs of £1,306 and waived all accommodation costs for the family.
Thea added: ‘On behalf of my whole team and owner, I’m so sorry to see the incident happening to Jade Miller while she was playing at the poolside, who got [an] electric burn on her left leg [after] touching the lamp at the waterfall, [which] is a restricted area [she was] not allowed to climb on.’
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