With the expertise of Shriners Children’s burn care teams and their dedication to helping each patient reach for their dreams, children take inspiring steps and make incredible recoveries. That’s why families come to our burn care centers from hometowns near our locations as well as from around the world.
Meet patients Samantha and Kohen, who each experienced accidents at their homes that caused severe burn injuries. But through the quick action of their families and the skilled providers at Shriners Children’s, they are smiling and back to doing what they do best: just being kids.
Last December, Kohen, an active 11/2-year-old, was sitting in his high chair in the kitchen when he grabbed the cord of a nearby rice cooker. The contents fell into his lap, causing third- and fourth-degree burns to his abdomen and thighs.
“The doctors at the emergency room told us that, because Kohen is so young and the burns were so severe, we should take him to Shriners Children’s, as the burn team there specializes in both kids and burn care,” said his mother, Kaitlyn.
At Shriners Children’s Northern California, burn surgeon Kathleen Romanowski, M.D., performed an excision and skin grafting, and child life specialists provided physical and emotional support as they worked to give Kohen the best chance of healing and achieving the full functionality he had prior to the accident.
Kohen recovered at home and wore a personalized compression garment made by a seamstress with the occupational and physical therapy team to decrease pain during healing, protect his fragile skin and prevent scarring. He was monitored closely by the pediatric burn team and made a full recovery.
Like the other Shriners Children’s burn centers, the Northern California hospital is equipped to treat burn injuries of all degrees. From life-threatening burns to the smallest fingertip burn, the pediatric burn unit’s internationally recognized team of burn and plastic surgeons works alongside dedicated caregivers to provide the care and rehabilitation children need.
Kaitlyn will never look at her kitchen the same. She said she hopes that sharing her story inspires more parents of young children to create a safe kitchen environment in their homes.
Care that goes the distance
After a terrifying accident at her home in the Dominican Republic, Samantha received care at two Shriners Children’s burn hospitals in the U.S.
“We were at home preparing to build a fire to toast marshmallows,” explained Samantha’s mother, Katheryne. “Samantha was sitting on her aunt’s lap at a distance that should not have been dangerous. But we were not aware that close to the fire was a flammable liquid without the top on.” The container exploded, injuring both Samantha and her aunt, who tried to protect the little girl.
Although she arrived at a local hospital within minutes, Samantha’s treatment was difficult and painful. After two months without improvement, her family moved Samantha to a private clinic and then connected with the local Shriners club, who helped start the process for her to come to Shriners Children’s.
Initially treated at our Galveston facility, Samantha transferred to our Boston hospital and the care of Chief of Staff Robert Sheridan, M.D., because it is easier to travel to Boston from the Dominican Republic.
“I have so many words to say about how well we were both cared for – Samantha as a patient and me as her mother,” said Katheryne. “We now live in Georgia and are a large, close-knit family who gives a lot of love, joy and, most importantly, happiness to the youngest of the house, Samantha. We are her support, as it is difficult for her at this age to understand what happened to her. We try to teach her that the most valuable thing is family, who will always be with her.”