Badly burned Mount Laurel, NJ, boy makes first steps to recovery
The road to recovery for a New Jersey boy who suffered second and third degree burns over 90% of his body is just beginning, but early signs are encouraging.
11-year-old Ryan Jastrzembski poured gasoline on a bonfire in his Mount Laurel backyard last week. The gas can he was holding exploded, causing the severe burns.
After initially being medivaced to a hospital in Philadelphia, Ryan was flown to one of the nation's leading burn centers in Galveston, Texas.
His mother, Kathleen Jastrzembski, posted an encouraging update on a Facebook page created to chronicle Ryan's recovery.
"Surgery went well today for Ryan," Jastrzembski wrote, "His legs and bottom were debrideded. Some parts worse than others, but expected. Ran a fever that's closely being monitored, not unexpected."
Ryan's mom also says her son has been awake and moving his limbs slightly, which are more encouraging signs.
After the initial injuries, Ryan was heavily sedated due to the pain of his injuries and for his trip to Texas.
Survival rates are low for such severe injuries, but family friend Joseph Bocuti says Ryan is the kind of kid who can beat the odds.
"I feel he's got the right spirit for this and if there's anyone who's going to fight through this it's him," Bocuti said, "He's just got this right combination of stubbornness and he's just a kind compassionate kid with a great upbringing."
Today marks one week that our lives have changed forever in the blink of an eye. We all have heard it. Life is too short..
This is a perfect example!!
Don't be unhappy. Don't waste time. Tell who you love. Have fun.
We all make mistakes, but its just a life lesson. - Facebook message from Kathleen Jastrzembski
Surgery is just the first part of a long recovery. Several surgeries are often needed to remove all of the dead skin. The raw wounds are then covered by either synthetic skin or skin donated from a cadaver. Eventually, Ryan will need permanent skin grafts.
The biggest danger is infection. Ryan's mom did indicate the boy had a fever, but otherwise was doing well, and even had his appetite back and asked for "55 Big Macs."
Jastrzembski also expressed gratitude for the many people who have offered prayers, support and donations. A gofundme campaign has already raised over $200,000 to help pay for medical expenses.
She also urged people not to take a single day for granted.
"Don't be unhappy," she wrote, "Don't waste time. Tell who you love. Have fun."
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