Patients with burns on more than 90-percent of their bodies can go on to lead productive lives after being cared for at the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Galveston.
Specializing in burn care, kids from the High Plains travel there often, to receive high-quality care, regardless of their ability to pay–But what the patients and their families say they specialize in is hope.
Take Juan Perez, burned badly enough at his home in Mexico that he made the trip to Galveston.
Juan is wearing long sleeved blue pressure garments, made specifically for him here on site underneath a soccer jersey.
Angel Martinez, an outpatient staff nurse explains what they do, “The pressure is applied to different areas of the body which is applied to minimize the effect and growth of the scarring in that area.”
Juan hopes to “play futbol” when he grows up, he says through a translator. He is working to learn some English, and keep up with other students his age while he’s here, by attending class with one of their on-site teachers.
Mayra Sanders, who is Juan’s teacher at the hospital’s Odyssey Academy said she used to volunteer at the hospital, so when she got the opportunity to come and work there, she jumped at the opportunity.
“It’s my favorite teaching job I’ve ever had,” Sanders said.
Juan will also still be able to keep up on the soccer field when he leaves Galveston, personal trainers at the hospital have a small gym where patients start working on mobility or lifting weights as soon as possible.
Christopher Luzania, a physical trainer who works at the hospital says physical activity helps patients heal faster,
“It’s been shown to increase muscle mass and increase strength in patients who have been discharged from ICU,” Luzania said, “And they’re in that catabolic state one to two years post date of burn.”
Working alongside his team, Juan should be able to pick up right where he left off.
The hospital is working to develop its telemedicine technology, that way doctors, and specialists can meet with and diagnose patients via computer.
But they need partners in cities that are interested in working with them.
Also at the hospital, a tissue bank which provides hundreds of feet of donated skin to burn patients every year.
Below, Courtney Smith a Tissue Technician at the hospital explains the process of using donated tissue to help patients.
You can opt-in to be a tissue donor at donatelife.net.