Galveston doctors treat victims of Mexico fireworks explosion

Friday, December 23, 2016
Children injured in Mexico fireworks explosion beginning treatment
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Children injured in Mexico fireworks explosion beginning treatment at Shriner's Hospital in Galveston.

GALVESTON, TX (KTRK) -- Doctors at Shriners Hospitals for Children - Galveston performed surgery on one child burn victim injured in the Mexico fireworks explosion and they expect to admit three-to-four more children within the next 24 hours.

Juan Carlos, 13, flew in to Galveston late Wednesday afternoon with his older sister and a doctor on board. He is recovering from surgery and is stable according to his surgeon Dr. David Herndon.

"I believe that he'll stay a month," Herndon said, "He may need exercise therapy. He will need another operative intervention next week."

Dr. Herndon said recovering from severe burns is similar to long distance running.

"When a burn is over 40 percent of your total body, your heart is beating at a rate of almost twice normal," Herndon said, "A child's heart rate can be as high as 150 for a whole year post injury."

He said child burn victims use high amounts of energy to support heat that is being lost from their bodies. Adrenaline caused by fear also raises their heart rates.

Shriners in Galveston sent a team of two doctors to Mexico to visit other victims of the fireworks explosion and determine which children are stable enough to fly to Galveston for treatment. Shriners hospitals in other U.S. cities are also able to accept patients.

Dr. Herndon said a team of psychologists and social workers on staff help burn victims adapt to life after the tragic incident.

"To try to get children back to school, back to play, back to happiness as quickly and as fruitfully as they can," Herndon said, "And I think our success rates of that are some of the best in the whole world."