"We responded to an apartment building when the caretaker had called us. His initial report was that he went to check on a suite because water had been reported flooding into the hallway. He informed us there was a deceased lady in the tub. He said he saw her and immediately backed out without touching anything.
We entered the suite. It was filled with steam. The humidity had started peeling the paint off the walls in sheets. There was also the smell of cooked meat.
Upon entering the bathroom we found the supposed deceased, seated in the tub, with the hot water running. From the looks of it she had been there a while. The skin on her body, all the way from toes to sternum had started separating. Much like the paint on the walls, it was bubbled and coming up in sheets.
I checked for vitals while someone turned off the water and the others went to get a bag and radio for a can (when a body is badly decomposed, we put them in a sheet metal box).
I almost shit my pants when I found signs of life. The lady had a pulse. She wasn't really responsive, but she was breathing shallow, had a heart beat, and was looking at us. We had to get her out.
We radioed for EMS and informed them we had a live patient with at least 80% burns. They were a few minutes out so we started to get the patient ready for transport.
I don't remember what we were doing when we noticed the water draining from the tub. But what we saw was her torso essentially degloving itself as the water receded. We immediately plugged the bathtub and continued working her.
When EMS arrived we had to transfer her to the stretcher. That's where things got ugly.
We planned to gently lift her out of the tub, and place her on the stretcher. However, as soon as we touched her, her skin was coming off in sheets. I remember saying, 'Sorry ma'am, but we have to do this' as I picked up my section and came away with almost all of the skin I contacted stuck to my arms. That was the only time she made a sound. She probably couldn't feel it due to the nerve damage, but I'm pretty sure she knew she had lost almost all of her skin from the chest down.
The water was still extremely hot, so we were also getting burned while doing this.
We managed to get her onto the stretcher and EMS took her away.
When the bathtub was drained, there was a sheet of skin stuck to the bottom. We had to scrape it off and bag it. I still can't each certain chicken dishes because of this.
We figure she was in the tub and the water got cool. So she turned it on with her toe. She must've had a stroke and could not turn it off again. Being an apartment it had pretty much unlimited hot water. So that poor lady sat there for approximately three days, cooking.
Between a stroke, and severe burns, it wasn't likely that she'd make it. But we treat every patient like they have a chance. The human body is a weird and wonderful thing. Sometimes people do make it through some pretty terrible things."
She did not survive. We don't get a lot of follow up on calls, but I heard she passed away.