Kaj was a healthy 7-month-old boy living with his parents in Evansville, Indiana, until one day in March of 2012 when their world changed forever.
That is when Kaj, strapped in his car seat, was severely burned in an accidental vehicle fire. His father was able to pull him from the fire and rushed Kaj to the nearest emergency room with life-threatening burn injuries.
Because 30% of Kaj’s burns were third degree, the doctors there said he would need to be transferred a burn specialty facility. Even with immediate treatment, they estimated he had 72 hours to live.
Within two hours of the fire, Kaj was on an emergency Life Flight destined for Shriners Hospitals for Children—Cincinnati, where a team led by Kevin Yakuboff, M.D., FACS, FAAPS, stabilized and treated Kaj. Because of the skillful care he received at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Kaj survived the first 72 hours and well beyond. Over the next seven years Shriners Hospital for Children – Cincinnati became a second home for Kaj and his parents. He has had 40 surgeries to treat his injuries, including skin grafts to scar releases.
Nothing could have prepared Kaj and his family for how their lives would change after that day. Finding a “new normal” following the accident took time, but with guidance from his medical team at Cincinnati Shriners Hospital and social worker Donna McCartney, Kaj’s parents have been able to nurture both his physical recovery and his resilience through a childhood different from his peers.
Kaj, now 7 years old, is growing up with a kind heart, magnetic personality and strong spirit. Thanks to the family-centered care at the Cincinnati Shriners Hospital, Kaj parents are confident about his future, and proud to see him grow, thrive and feel comfortable in his own beautiful skin.