BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital is our state’s only certified burn center. It treats a thousand patients each year … Patients like Charlie Gans.
“My son is a parkour enthusiast which means he does these crazy athletic feats,” Charlie’s mom Jennifer explained.
But last year while scaling a cell tower, Charlie’s stunt didn’t go as planned.
“I called Charlie’s cell phone and one of the first responders answered it and said, ‘Ma’am, your son has been electrocuted and fell from an electric tower,” Jennifer recalled. “He broke multiple bones in his neck and spine.”
Charlie also had second and third degree burns on 35 percent of his body.
“They took him straight here to the emergency department and started doing what they had to do to save his life,” Jennifer said.
“We specialize in burn care management so all of our physicians are specially trained in burn care surgery,” said Kate Connolly, PA-C, a physician assistant at the Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital. “From the 1 percent burns to the 99 percent 100 percent burns, we treat everyone in the middle.”
Charlie was at the burn center for several weeks. Luckily, during that time Jennifer was able to stay alongside her son in the hospitality suite — a space provided by Connecticut firefighters.
“When we would come back to the fourth floor and turn right for the burn unit Charlie said, ‘Oh we’re home,’ and that’s what it felt like for all of us,” Jennifer recalled.
The Connecticut Burn Center offers state-of-the-art treatments. During his time there, Charlie underwent several surgeries and physical therapy.
“For Charlie, like any burn patient, rehabilitation is such an integral part of their recovery,” said Physical Therapist Eric LaBonte, P.T. “A lot of what we had to focus on with him early was how to manage his pain along with getting him to be active again.”
“I remember when he took his first step and I was in disbelief he was ever going to walk again, and Eric … he was there from the very first day,” Jennifer said.
Thanks to the care he received, Charlie made an incredible recovery, and he just achieved a lifelong dream: Climbing Machu Picchu in Peru.
“I can’t say enough positive about The [Connecticut] Burn Center here and how fortunate we feel,” Jennifer said.
“My absolute favorite part of my job is just being able to see the true evolution of our patients — to see how they come in no their worst day after sustaining a really traumatic injury … and watching them evolve as they get better,” Connolly said.
“Given what happened, it’s a miracle he’s alive,” Jennifer said.
It’s a miracle thanks to some extraordinary care. To learn more about The Connecticut Burn Center at Bridgeport Hospital, visit BridgeportHospital.org.