When Wudson came to St. Boniface Hospital in Fond des Blancs, no one could touch him. The seven-year-old boy had been through more pain and fear in the past few months than most people should experience in their lifetimes.
Wudson Lafleur—or Wudley, as his family calls him—fell into hot cooking oil at his home in November 2015. His face, neck, and chest were badly burned. After looking for care locally, and being unable to find it, his family brought him all the way to the General Hospital in Port au Prince. Wudley received his first skin graft there in mid-December. By January he was fighting his doctors, crying all the time, and terrified to even let strangers near his hospital bed. His condition was rapidly deteriorating. The hospital was unequipped and understaffed to deal with his injuries and long-term care.
The pain caused by changing dressings on burn wounds is excruciating. In order to do them properly, patients often need to be sedated, or have local anesthesia for the pain. Wudley had neither. His nurses could not bring him to an operating room to do the dressing changes, so they resorted to doing them as infrequently as possible. By January his bandages were being changed every four days, instead of every day, which only made his pain and fear about the changes worse and greatly increased the chance of infection.
When Wudley arrived at St. Boniface in January, 2016, over two months after his accident, his wounds were black and infected. He screamed and fought the doctors and nurses when they tried to change the dressings. He was terrified and very sick.
At St. Boniface, however, he finally received the care he needed. Our surgical team was able to clean his wounds and do daily dressing changes, which has made all the difference in his healing. He has even bonded with several of the staff on his care team, including Chief Surgeon Luther Ward, and several of the nurses.
“He flirts with one nurse constantly,” laughs Dr. Ward, “she’s really helped bring him out of his shell.”
Wudley’s burns were so extensive that the scarring left his neck bent at an uncomfortable and awkward angle. Dr. Ward and the surgical team have done one surgery so far to give Wudley better range of motion in his neck. They will be doing at least one more in the near future to remove the scar tissue over his right eye.
Because St. Boniface is rapidly becoming the burn treatment center for southern Haiti, Wudley has been able to meet several fellow burn patients during his stay. Talking to other burn patients, especially other kids with similar injuries to his, has made Wudley see that he is not all alone. He can even have friends who look just like him.
Since arriving in January, Wudley has gone from a scared, angry little boy to a smiling, laughing, playful kid who can’t wait to get back to school and see his friends. His team of doctors and nurses eagerly look forward to that day, too.
To help support all of the other services that are helping give Wudley his life back, please click here to make a donation to SBHF today.