SMALL GOALS: Injured in the eruption at Whakaari, White Island last month, Jake Milbank is now recovering in the burns unit at Middlemore Hospital
  • Jake moved from ICU to burns unit

JAKE Milbank, who was critically injured in the eruption at Whakaari, White Island last month, has been moved out of the intensive care unit at Middlemore Hospital, raising hopes for his recovery.

Nineteen-year-old Jake’s father, Steve Milbank, said yesterday his son had been moved from intensive care to the burns unit, “which is a good step for him”.

“Being in the burns unit they are not so worried, he is stable now,” Mr Milbank said.

“So, it is just grafts and rehab now.”

Mr Milbank said Jake was undergoing surgeries and procedures every three to four days.

“Either grafts or dressing changes and looking at the grafts to check they are taking.

“So far his grafts have all gone really well, they are taking all right, but I think he is just over a third done on the grafting.”


Jake Milbank

Mr Milbank said doctors had told them there could be up to 40 skin graft operations. Jake received burns to 80 percent of his body in the eruption on December 9.

“He has had 14 skin grafts so far.”

Mr Milbank said his son was keeping positive on the whole although it was a “bit of a roller coaster”.

Jake’s mother has been by his side throughout his ordeal and the family is grateful for the support given through a Givealittle page as she has been unable to work.

“She has pretty much knocked her work back to a minimum and is doing what she can from Auckland.”

He said Jake did enjoy reading all the messages on the Givealittle page, which has raised almost $140,000.

Mr Milbank said the move to the burns unit also meant Jake could get more visitors.

“Lots of his colleagues from White Island have been to visit him. Before [while in ICU] we have been able to take a few visitors through ICU, but it was restricted and mostly family, just a few of us. But now he is out of ICU it is a bit easier to go see him.”

The Milbank family are thrilled that Jake is in the burns unit but also realise there is still a long recovery journey ahead.

Mr Milbank said doctors were talking about two years of operations and procedures.

He said, however, they were focusing on short-term goals.

“That is pretty much how they do it at the hospital, have these small goals.”