Woman who suffered 96% burns wins seven-figure payout

Catrin Pugh, 22, is believed to be the oldest person in the world to survive such severe burns which ravaged every inch of her body apart from her scalp and the soles of her feet.

Woman who suffered 96% burns wins seven-figure payout

A young woman who suffered 96% burns in a horrific road crash in the French Alps has won a million-pound-plus settlement.

Catrin Pugh, 22, is believed to be the oldest person in the world to survive such severe burns which ravaged every inch of her body apart from her scalp and the soles of her feet.

She spent three months in an induced coma, has had more than 200 operations and is slowly rebuilding her life since the crash in 2013.

Catrin, from Wrexham, North Wales, has recently been told damage to her optic nerve is permanent, which has left her with no central vision and unable to see straight ahead.

She has been awarded a seven-figure payout, although the full amount has not been made public.

Catrin on a recent holiday in Portugal.

Catrin on a recent holiday in Portugal.

Then aged 19, she was returning from a ski season in the French Alps in April 2013 when the coach she was travelling in crashed and burst into flames, killing the driver and injuring dozens of passengers.

She was pulled from the wreckage, but was so badly injured that medics gave her just a one in 1,000 chance of survival.

She said: "I remember being on fire. It's a feeling that's very difficult to describe. You just feel very numb everywhere and I have since learned that's because it had burned through my nerve endings.

"It was like a scene from a horror film. I thought I was going to die. I remember them asking me where it hurt the most and me screaming 'it hurts everywhere'."

She was treated in the specialist burns unit at Whiston Hospital, Merseyside, for eight months while parents Sara and Carl and siblings Robert and Mari kept a bedside vigil.

Catrin, shortly after coming out of hospital.

Catrin, shortly after coming out of hospital.

Ms Pugh has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder, had to learn to walk again and still struggles to grip things because of the injuries to her hands, but says losing her eyesight has been the most devastating blow.

She added: "My eyes didn't get burned, but because I was so ill and nearly lost my life on a number of occasions, it caused my optic nerve to get damaged.

"I have been left with no central vision and that's what you use to see detail. I can't see people's faces. I will walk into a bar and I won't be able to see my friends until I'm a foot away from them."

Joanne Berry, a travel law specialist at Slater and Gordon, who represented Ms Pugh in a legal action against the coach operator, said: "Catrin is, without doubt, one of the bravest and most inspirational individuals I have met.

"Nothing can make up for what she has been and continues to go through, but what this settlement can do is pay for the care she needs and make things easier in the future."

A visit from Katie Piper, the former model left scarred for life after sulphuric acid was thrown in her face, has inspired Ms Pugh to become an ambassador for the Katie Piper Foundation.

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