A baby boy was so badly burned in a house fire he suffered fourth-degree burns that left his bones protruding through his skin. Domingo Abarzua also had to receive skin grafts from cadavers in the wake of the blaze last November, when he was just four months old. His face was so badly burned that his eyelids fused shut.
The infant, from Youngstown in Ohio, was pulled from the rented house by his mother Marciela Daza after an electrical fault made it catch fire. His clothes were so hot they began melting to Marciela’s skin, with the mom screaming hysterically on seeing how severely injured her baby was.
She explained: ‘I was asking God to please make Domingo answer or move. At that moment, I remember Domingo taking a deep breath and he started crying again. I laid him carefully on the grass and the first thing I did was start to remove his clothing because it was very hot and almost sticking to me on my body…’
Chilean-born Marciela, whose English is poor, wasn’t able to confirm the severity of her baby’s condition until she got to the hospital and chatted to a Spanish-speaking paramedic.
She told the Akron Beacon Journal: ‘It was at that point I was aware that basically Domingo was close to death and it was a matter of life or death.’
He suffered burns to a third of his body, with his face one of the worst-hit areas.
Domingo suffered fourth-degree burns – the most serious type, as well as extremely serious third-degree burns that saw him endure eight months of painful surgeries.
He is finally set to be discharged from hospital on Monday, just in time for his first birthday on July 18. But Domingo faces further grueling surgeries as he gets older to help his badly-scarred skin stretch as he grows bigger.
Dr Richard Lou, who treated Domingo at the Akron Children’s Hospital, explained: ‘He’s lucky to even be alive at this point. Most people in house fires this young typically don’t make it to the hospital.’
‘Burn scars are really really tough and can scar severely and distort facial features.’
Domingo lost several fingers and toes as a result of the fire. Skin from cadavers was initially used to treat him, although that has since been replaced with grafts from his own body.
The baby had to go on a ventilator to breathe, and now has a tracheostomy on his neck to ensure he can get enough air into his lungs. He is also being fed through a tube, and must learn to eat again.
Domingo was so badly scarred after the blaze his eyes fused shut, with surgeons working to reopen them and loosen that tissue. They will perform similar procedures in the coming years to stop Domingo experiencing pain or similar discomfort as he grows bigger and his damaged skin begins to stretch.
After leaving Akron Children’s intensive care unit, Domingo moved to a rehabilitation center to help boost his strength and mobility. His mom Marciela and father Orlando Abarzua are now looking forward to bringing him home. They have nicknamed their son ‘Super Mingo’ as a tribute to his survival against the odds.
Marciela said: ‘It’s been a very long road for us the past eight months. We are very happy because he’s alive. We are very happy because in the process we met a lot of humane, wonderful people. ‘
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Domingo. To donate click here
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