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Care, innovation, education and research

news item News Thursday, May 23, 2019 Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:23 PM - Thursday, May 23, 2019 2:23 PM

Jimmy's story

Patient becomes motivational speaker to help other burn survivors

Although Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston only treats children up until 21 years of age, we like to stay close to our patients as they grow into confident, successful adults. Jimmy is a former patient who remains closely connected to our hospital and our mission.

When Jimmy was 3, there was a fire at his home in Nicaragua. His father had gone out to buy food and his mother was working. Jimmy was home with his four siblings. They all shared a mattress on the floor. With no electricity in the house, Jimmy’s sister lit a candle for light. When the children were asleep, a mosquito net covering the children’s mattress caught fire and spread quickly throughout the house. Jimmy’s sister Katherine rescued him from the fire, but not before he suffered extensive burns to nearly half of his body.

Jimmy’s initial treatment was at a hospital in Nicaragua, where he was unconscious for many months. It was many more weeks before he was able to get out of bed to attempt walking and resume normal activities. His doctors were pleased with his recovery but knew he needed extensive reconstructive surgery to manage his scars as he grew. That type of care was not available in Nicaragua.

During his time at the hospital in Nicaragua, Jimmy met Robert L. Sheridan, M.D., assistant chief of staff and chief of the burn service at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston, who was visiting the hospital and performing surgery on burn survivors like Jimmy. Dr. Sheridan knew the team in Boston could offer Jimmy the care he needed over the remainder of his childhood. Jimmy traveled to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston for the first time in 2000.

Since his first visit as a young boy, Jimmy has undergone more than 100 operations at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston. Now 22, Jimmy is working as a motivational speaker, hoping to reach fellow burn survivors and empower them during their own recoveries. He encourages them to follow their hearts and reminds them that anything is possible.

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