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news News Wednesday, January 17, 2018 Wednesday, January 17, 2018 1:24 PM - Wednesday, January 17, 2018 1:24 PM

Boston patient goes home after nearly a year in the hospital

Boston patient goes home after nearly a year in the hospital

It was an ordinary day last February for a south Georgia family until an accidental cooking fire changed everything.

Chassity was home with her three children. She remembers very little from the fire, except for being picked up and carried outside by her boyfriend, Mike. She was panicked, looking for her kids. When she woke up again, Chassity was in a hospital in Florida, intubated, with burns to 30 percent of her body. Sadly, she would learn that two of her children died in the fire. Her third child, 14-month-old Brighten, was stabilized at a local hospital and then transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston with burns on 85–90 percent of his body.

Mike traveled to Boston with his son, whose condition was critical. Not being with Brighten was agonizing for Chassity, who was dealing with her own very serious medical issues related to her burn injuries. Once Chassity was in stable enough condition to travel, she transferred to Boston to continue her care and be closer to her little boy.

Upon arrival at the Boston Shriners Hospital, Brighten was very sick. According to Robert Sheridan, M.D., assistant chief of staff and director of the burn service, Brighten was at the extreme end of cases seen in the hospital. His burns were extensive and the complications to his internal systems put his life in jeopardy. Brighten had significant damage to his airway and could not breath on his own. It took Dr. Sheridan and the team at the Boston Shriners Hospital approximately 30 trips to the operating room over the course of many months just to get all of Brighten’s burn wounds closed. Between surgeries, there were complications and setbacks, but Brighten battled right alongside his care team.

“He fought and the doctors fought with him,” said Chassity. “The nurses made sure he was very well taken care of. They did whatever they needed to do to make sure he survived.”

Along with care for his wounds, Brighten received constant physical and occupational therapy to help him heal and meet treatment goals and milestones. Good nutrition is very important for burn recovery and the hospital dietitian worked hard to ensure Brighten was getting enough calories every day to support the work his body was doing to heal. Brighten also attended music therapy, which he loved. Once he was allowed out of bed, he could often be seen around the hospital with a musical instrument in hand.

Using a rib graft, doctors were able to reconstruct Brighten’s airway, so he no longer needs to rely on intubation to breathe. Now 2 years old, Brighten has been a patient at the Boston Shriners Hospital for nearly a year. He has made remarkable progress – to the point where his care team recently determined that he was ready to go home!

“It is amazing to see how strong Brighten is and how much he can go through and still smile,” said Chassity.

Brighten will return to Boston frequently for follow-up care and reconstructive surgery, but he and his mom are looking forward to being closer to family and friends in Georgia.

Before heading home, Chassity said, “I feel like Shriners is a real blessing to me. If it weren’t for Shriners, I wouldn’t have Brighten.”

Brighten at 1 year of age in hospital Brighten never stops smiling! Brighten playing