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Wednesday, 3 July, 2002, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK
Lessons for 'acid tears' girl
Michelle Jessett
Michelle is unable to cry without suffering 'acid tears'
A teenager from south Wales who has cried "acid tears" since her school bus was caught in a toxic cloud has finally been able to return to class.

Michelle Jessett, 15, from Glynneath, has been in hospital 48 times since came into contact with a massive chemical cloud caused by a lorry fire.


I don't mind at all about the name calling, I am just glad to be back with all my mates

Michelle Jessett

Surgeons have tried to identify what is causing Michelle to break out in sores and blisters every time she cries.

They have not ruled out further operations, but have now given the teenager the all-clear to return to school with her classmates for the first time.

"I am just glad to be back with all my mates," Michelle said.

The schoolgirl suffered her mystery affliction in January when the a lorry carrying ferric chloride - which is used to treat drinking water - crashed on the A465 Resolven to Aberduilas road.

Nineteen other pupils from Llangatwg Comprehensive School in Resolven suffered more minor breathing and facial skin blemishes after leaning out of the window to view the massive cloud.

But it is only Michelle who has not recovered and her family have no answers about what is causing the illness.

Lorry crash scene
The lorry fire caused a toxic cloud

Her doctors believe she could be suffering from haemangioma - bleeding under the skin - caused by a reaction to her own tears.

"We are still not over this nightmare and are no nearer knowing what is causing Michelle all this pain and sudden change in her lifestyle," said her mother, Samantha Jessett.

"Michelle is determined to battle through.

"Even tears hurt and burn her face so we are keeping her happy by allowing her to school."

Consultant Simon Hodder, who has been treating Michelle at Morriston Hospital in Swansea, has said further surgery may be the only answer.

Sources on haemangioma say the condition is an overgrowth of blood vessels in the skin.

Types of the condition include capillary haemangioma, caused by dilated capillaries.


Where I Live, South West Wales
See also:

06 May 02 | Wales
24 Jan 02 | Wales
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