Mother warns others about kitchen safety after spilling cooking oil, suffering from 3rd-degree burns

HOUSTON – As a mother and an avid cook, Clarissa Montgomery has made tortilla chips countless times, but while in the kitchen just over a week ago, she suffered a very serious accident. Now, the mother is healing at Memorial Hermann’s burn unit and sending a strong message to others from her hospital bed.

“It was and continues to be very, very painful,” Montgomery said.

Back on June 14, a routine trip to the kitchen to fry tortilla chips left the wife and mother of two in excruciating pain. Montgomery now has second and third-degree burns covering 30% of her body.

“They’re all over the backside and on both sides of my legs. Pretty extensive,” Montgomery said.

The elementary school teacher was on her last batch for the night, when she said she made a major mistake by not scooping the chips away from her. A simple move that would change her life forever.

“I scooped them towards me and the entire pan of boiling oil fell on me, and then I slipped on the oil and fell on the floor,” Montgomery said.

The severe burns left behind are too graphic for us to show,  but proved to be so severe that during a follow-up appointment, doctors decided to admit her to the burn unit at Memorial Hermann.

“So now we’re talking about skin grafts, possible skin grafts and debridement, that’s where they literally scrape off all of the dead skin,” Montgomery said.

Since the incident, she has received an outpour of support. A GoFundMe has been set up to help Montgomery with medical expenses.

Montgomery is now paying it forward with advice, hoping to prevent others from making the same mistake.

“Accidents can happen when you’re not aware, and I think for me, I wasn’t cognizant of the fact that there was danger right in front of me,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery now has a decision to make on whether to get skin grafts, which would mean about a four-week healing process, or to not get the grafts, which would make the healing process last about four months. A decision she hopes others who love to cook, never have to make.

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