6-year-old Burn Survivor Gets Life-Saving Care at The Grossman Burn Center

Male doctor and family member sitting on the edge of young hospital patient's bed

Sheila was a typical six-year-old. She probably liked to play with friends, retreat into her imagination and be doted on by her loved ones. But now, she’s fighting for her life at The Grossman Burn Center at HCA Healthcare-affiliate West Hills Hospital.

Sheila suffered third degree burns to her neck, chest, arms and thighs after accidentally setting her shirt on fire in her remote village of Indonesia. Weeks she spent in her village, with her family unsure of how to treat her wounds, until an aid organization that partners with The Grossman Burn Foundation, the center’s charitable arm, discovered her on a routine medical check and transported her the nearly half-day’s ride to their clinic.

The clinic staff there, who had been trained to treat burn injuries by nurses at the Grossman Burn Center, immediately recognized that Sheila needed much more than they could provide.

Led by Dr. Peter Grossman, medical director of The Grossman Burn Center, and a coalition of surgeons, hospital executives and non-profit organizations, they rushed to save Sheila after learning of her life-threatening condition.

“We were really behind the eight ball when we started,” Dr. Grossman said, “but with the team of nurses, physicians and caretakers and the loving prayers and thoughts of so many people, we have a shot.”

Since she and her father arrived in Los Angeles, Sheila has undergone four surgeries and has overcome unforeseen obstacles, including:

  • a procedure to release her chin from her neck after a burn contracture developed, and to secure her airway and remove contaminated skin;
  • a lice infestation that resulted in caregivers shaving her hair; the discovery of bacteria in her wounds, which delayed skin grafting; and the use of cadaver skin as a temporary dressing until her own skin could be applied;
  • a procedure which took skin from her scalp, back, arms and legs to cover burn area on her neck, torso, arms and legs.

“Her wounds looked so much better today than they had,” Dr. Grossman said after the fourth surgery.  “It gave us a very positive feeling, but there are still a lot of obstacles that can come our way. Having said that, I’m incredibly happy with the progress we’ve made today and this was the biggest step we’ve made so far.”

The Grossman Burn Center has donated its services to provide this life-saving care for Sheila.

“We are in the business of helping people and restoring lives,” Dr. Grossman said. “To be able to bring that level of care to a child from a disadvantaged area of the world is truly gratifying.”

Watch the work of caregivers at The Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital as they fight to #SaveSheila.

The Grossman Burn Centers treat approximately 3,500 burn patients annually. The generous support from the Grossman Burn Foundation, Children’s Burn Foundation, West Hills Hospital, an HCA Healthcare affiliate, and Grossman Burn Center’s Medical Director, Peter H. Grossman helped make this healing miracle happen.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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