Jake Milbank has finally returned home after spending four months in hospital following the Whakaari/White Island eruption, with the island pictured in the background.
A Whakaari/White Island tour guide injured in last year’s eruption has been discharged from hospital.
Jake Milbank of Whakatane suffered burns to 80% of his body when the volcano erupted on December 9, killing 21 people.
The 19-year-old was on the island doing a tour for White Island Tours and was among those rescued from the island by the White Island Tours boat skippered by Paul Kingi.
He had since been hospitalized, but shared an update on his Givealittle page on Friday saying he was now home.
“It’s a shame to come out of almost 4 months of isolation, to go straight back to isolation, but it’s just good to be home.”
While in the hospital, Milbank managed to rack up 25 trips to the operating room.
“I must say my surgeons did an outstanding job,” he wrote.
“I was told that when it came to possible infections, it was not a question of if, but rather of when.
“I’ve been blessed to go all this time without a single infection or setback, which is absolutely amazing.”
When he was first admitted to hospital, his family were told he could be in intensive care for at least three to four months and his hospital stay could last up to six months. or more.
“Being able to be discharged from hospital in less than four months after suffering 80% burns is almost unheard of, and I owe it all to my amazing team of doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists for getting me out of what must be almost record time.”
However, he said he mostly owed it to his family, who had been with him every step of the way.
“I also have to thank my friends, for always visiting me and keeping me sane during this long and difficult time.
“To everyone in New Zealand and around the world who has shown me their continued love and support, I cannot thank you enough.
“You all gave me the strength and encouragement I needed to keep working hard and striving for the best possible outcome.”
Although there is still a very long way to go for Milbank in terms of rehabilitation and recovery, he said that with the help of his family and friends, as well as global support, he knows that would happen one day.
Milbank, who was initially in a special pressure-controlled, temperature-controlled pod while undergoing treatment for burns, left the intensive care unit at Middlemore Hospital for the National Burns Center in January.