Shriners Hospitals for Children flew six children who suffered severe burns after a volcano erupted near the capital of Guatemala to Texas.
“We received six children at 4:40 (Thursday) morning,” said Mel Bower, the Shriners Hospitals Chief Communications and Marketing Officer. “They were all admitted to our intensive care unit for critical burns.”
That ICU is in Galveston, TX. Shriners Hospitals for Children is based in Tampa and worked with the U.S. Southern Command, the Army and Air Force, and other U.S. agencies to arrange the transportation.
It is uncertain how long the children, along with five guardians, will stay in Texas.
“It’d be difficult to estimate, because burn injuries traditionally take longer than other ailments,” said Bower. “It’s based on their treatment and there’s varying degrees of severity with the patients.”
Bower said it could even take years before their treatment is complete.
He added that, like other patients they treat regularly, the families of the burn victims will not have to pay for the medical care.
“The Shriners System takes care of all children regardless of the family’s ability to pay,” said Bower. “We do that through generous donations of individuals around the world.”
Bower said a second medical team in Boston is currently on stand-by in case they need to transport more victims.
At least 99 people were killed when the Fuego volcano erupted Sunday, less than 30 miles southwest of Guatemala City. An unknown number of people remain missing.
Those interested in helping the children from Guatemala can contact Shriners Hospitals for Children at 855-393-7447 or lovetotherescue.org/helpguatemala.