When you meet Jonathan, you quickly realize he has more cares than a typical 6-year-old should. He has a large burn scar contracture all down his right arm and chest, and he is incredibly tender with it, constantly worrying that something will bump into it or that he will hurt it again.
At the age of three, Jonathan was playing in his house under his aunt’s care while his mom was away from home. His aunt was boiling water on the stove, and Jonathan accidentally bumped into the stove, knocking the pot of boiling water on top of him. His right arm and chest were terribly burned, and although he was taken to a nearby hospital, the doctors there only cleaned and bandaged the wounds. As a result, the burned skin contracted, ridding him of the ability to raise or straighten his arm.
Jonathan’s mother, Roxanna, says that her son used to play soccer and other activities, but since his accident he has been so worried about hurting his arm further that he stopped playing or doing anything that seemed risky. She brought Jonathan to see our surgical team in La Paz because she couldn’t otherwise afford treatment and wants him to be able to use his arm as he grows up, and she doesn’t want him to be afraid of playing or doing the things kids normally do.
Our volunteer surgical team worked with Dr. Jorge Terrazas, our medical partner in Bolivia, to release the contractures on Jonathan’s elbow and armpit, and he was quick to recover from the procedure. Tom Taylor, our volunteer hand therapist, made a splint for his arm and taught his mom some therapeutic exercises he can do at home to regain strength in his arm.
Just a couple of days after his surgery, he was already lifting his arm straight up in the air like a champ. Jonathan Rausky, our volunteer plastic surgeon, told him and his mother that now he can even grow up to be a basketball player if we wants to!
It’s thanks to the support from people like you that we are able to restore health and dreams for kids like Jonathan all around the world.