|Carmen with the President and CEO of Speedway Convenience Stores and Braden Tomasitis (Braden is the current Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Champion for Indiana).|
For more on Carmen’s story read below:
On May 2, 2011 the weather turned from warm to cold very quickly. When my daughter arrived off the school bus, I turned on the (gas) fireplace to warm the living room. While we were both watching T.V., she stood with her back to the fireplace to warm up. She got too close and her skirt caught fire and quickly engulfed in flames. As she screamed and cried in horror and from pain she ran through the house. I can’t believe I forgot everything I was ever taught to do in the event of a person catching on fire. I ran through the house after her, grabbing all I could and swatting at her to put her out. As she ran, the fire grew bigger and covered more and more of her body. My husband, hearing our screams and cries for help, came out of our bedroom and saw the reflection of our daughter on fire on the oven door. He immediately proceeded to quickly get her to the ground, roll her around and pat the fire out. By this time the damage was done and my daughter was in complete shock. She proceeded toward the door and tried to run outside. At this point I stopped her and my husband, who thought he was going to drive her to the hospital himself. The severity of the event definitely impaired all of our thinking. I stopped them both and proceeded to call 911. When the ambulance arrived, I rode with her to the hospital that was less than a mile away. My husband had to drive our 2 year old to the hospital where a friend met us to take care of him. Once we arrived at the hospital, they notified Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis where she was flown in by helicopter. My daughter underwent 9 surgeries, each time having debrisment done and skin grafting.
They also sent a specimen of her skin to Boston where they grew CEA that was later adhered to her skin. She spent 3 months (total) in the hospital. One of those months was spent in Physical Rehabilitation to regain range of motion and (learn to) walk again. The burns cover 55-60% of her body. Her whole left leg (from her groin/buttocks to the top of her left foot) has been taken down to fascia (the layer right above the muscle) and grafted. Her right thigh(from her groin/buttocks and to about half way down her thigh) was also taken down to fascia. There is a portion of her stomach (where the elastic of her skirt was)that was taken down to fascia as well. About 2/3 of her back, 2/3 of her left arm, a 3″ in diameter section of her right wrist, and sporadic spots on her stomach have also been grafted.
It has officially been 3 years since Carmen’s accident. Carmen is truly and inspiration to us as well. She is ambitious, “bold headed”, and a fighter. All of which played a major part of such a quick recovery giving the severity of her burns.
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