“You don’t see the scar…you see the person”: Burn survivors share their stories

WINNIPEG — John Hart doesn’t recall the moment 138,000 volts of electricity coursed through his body.

“I don’t remember any of the shock at all,” Hart said. “It was my co-worker who found me on the ground, on fire.”

It was 1994 and the Manitoba Hydro employee says he was up in Churchill inspecting the pads transformers sit on.

“I was holding the map in one hand and the rod in the right, and we are not sure if the rod contacted a low-hanging line or maybe electricity jumped to it, but regardless, the electricity came down the rod into my right hand, and then exited out the right foot,” Hart said.

The incident left him with burns to 40 percent of his body, and so badly damaged his right arm and leg that they were partially amputated.

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Sitting on the hospital bed weeks after the accident, the husband and father of four said all he could think about, was his kids.

“When you’re looking at someone that young, you’re going ‘okay…what kind of dad am I going to be now,'” Hart said.

While that moment can still bring the now 58-year-old to tears, Hart has shared it dozens of times in hopes of helping other burn survivors heal.

One of his favorites stories, is told with the help of a photo of a smiling Hart, jumping on a trampoline without his prosthetics.

He believes it proves “anything is possible.”

Hart is with the Mamingwey Burn Survivors Society and recently helped emcee their annual conference.

Up to 100 survivors, their families as well as therapists who work with burn patients attend the conference in hopes of helping others navigate both the physical and emotional impact of burn injuries.

Their stories were featured on Focus Manitoba October 24.

“The hardest part is unlike other injuries, burn injuries are there with the person for life,” Dr. Sarveshy Logestty of the Manitoba Firefighters Burn Unit said.  “The scar is there. It’s on the surface. So individuals have to cope with that.”


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