A woman who suffered second-degree burns after having boiling water accidentally poured over her during a Qantas flight has accused the airline of failing to help her or pay for her medical expenses.
Karina, who did not want her surname published, was on her way from Perth to the Gold Coast on March 18 to work at the Commonwealth Games when the accident happened, leaving her in severe pain.
She told ABC Radio Perth a flight attendant was handing her a cup of tea when the woman spilt boiling water on her legs during flight QF860, on the Sydney-Gold Coast leg of her journey.
“I asked for a cup of tea and she passed it over to me and it spilt onto my lap,” she said.
“I was in shock and a lot of pain.
“I was standing up to try to dry it, but she [the flight attendant] had already moved on to the next row of people and I got no medical assistance, no help throughout the entire flight.”
Blistering set in before landing
Karina said she later mentioned she had burns to the flight attendant, and was unimpressed with the response.
“She went ‘oh’, and that was all she said,” Karina said.
“I kept trying to tell the flight attendants what had happened, but again they didn’t do anything [to help me] on the flight.
“By the time I got off the plane everything had already started to blister.”
Karina said she went straight to hospital and medical staff told her that if she had received treatment for the burn immediately it would not have been as severe.
She said if not for the wonderful work of doctors at the hospital who expedited her treatment, she would have lost her contract at the Commonwealth Games by being deemed unfit to work.
She said she later sent Qantas letters from the hospital, confirming she had suffered second-degree burns, but said it was her treatment on the flight that had left her devastated.
“There was no apology, there was no like, ‘are you OK, can I help in any way or can we get someone to look at it for you?’ There was nothing like that,” she said.
“No one came up to me during the flight or as I was leaving to say ‘can we get an incident report or a crew report’.”
Qantas response ‘inadequate’
Karina said it took 11 days for Qantas to acknowledge a complaint she filed online. After sending the company the documents and photographs outlining her injuries, she remains unhappy with the response.
She wants an apology from Qantas and for the airline to pay her medical expenses of $400.
“Qantas really needs to update its procedures and what they are doing on the plane so it doesn’t happen again,” she said.
“It was the pain and nearly losing my job which was the more worrying concern throughout the process.”
Qantas told the ABC it was investigating the incident.
The airline has confirmed the incident was not logged, but said a staff member had been in contact with Karina regarding her complaint.