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Severely Burned Teenager Returns to Hospital With Respiratory Problems

As a Broward County burn injury attorney, I was disappointed but not surprised to see media reports that Michael Brewer had to go back to the hospital to deal with respiratory problems Jan. 3. Brewer, 15, suffered burns to two-thirds of his body this fall when three other teenagers intentionally set him on fire, over a dispute about a $40 debt. The victim was released from a specialized hospital burn unit more than two months later, on Dec. 22. But as the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Jan. 5, burn experts say it’s not at all unusual for survivors of severe burns like Brewer’s to develop complications serious enough to require more medical care.

The article notes that Brewer underwent three skin-graft surgeries to replace skin destroyed by the burn. This typically means the patient needs blood transfusions, and an uninvolved doctor told the newspaper that blood transfusions can weaken patients’ immune systems. This leaves patients more vulnerable to infections, including potentially serious infections like pneumonia. Patients could be even more vulnerable if they had a preexisting medical condition that weakened their immune systems, such as diabetes, or failed to follow doctors’ orders. And one of Brewer’s doctors had already said that respiratory failure was a possibility with burns this severe. Burns over more than a small patch of skin can cause these complications because the skin protects our bodies from infection and regulates hydration. Losing it can be life-threatening.

Believe it or not, this frightening list of complications is only the beginning for many of the patients I see as a Sunrise severe burn lawyer. After the initial danger is past, patients with extreme burns still require months of follow-up care to prevent infections, repair as much damage as possible and promote healing. In many cases, they will also need future care aimed at preventing their skin from scarring in a way that limits their mobility and disables or disfigures them. Even when this is medically successful, it can still leave patients with visible scars that change the way others behave around them and make it hard to go into public. And unfortunately, all of this medical care can be very, very expensive, reaching six or seven figures over a lifetime even with insurance.

After more than 25 years representing seriously injured Floridians, Cohn, Smith & Cohn has the experience necessary to handle cases of severe burns. These cases are both medically and legally complex, because they require attorneys to estimate the cost of all future medical care, lost income and other financial losses. It is vital to ensure that every cost and injury is included, because once you reach a settlement or verdict, you almost never have a chance to request more compensation. Our Miami Gardens burn injury lawyers have substantial experience with these complex injuries and can point to successful past cases with substantial recoveries for the victims. In addition to recovering the high financial costs related to a burn injury, we also help victims and their families claim damages for their physical pain, emotional trauma and other personal losses.

If your family has suffered a severe burn injury because someone else’s carelessness, you should talk to Cohn, Smith & Cohn right away. To tell us about your case and learn more about how we can help, please contact us through the Internet or call (954) 431-8100 today.

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