Determined 3-year-old Survives Backyard Burn Accident
He’s got the typical traits of most three-year-old boys. He’s full of giggles, energy and spunk. He loves Spider-Man and anything associated with cowboys, roping and horses. The only difference is Westyn Tudor has been through more in his short life than most people 10 times his age.
On Nov. 11, 2020, Westyn was involved in an unthinkable accident when he fell backwards into a firepit on his family’s Yuma property.
“It all happened so fast,” said his mom, Amy Green. “We are an outdoorsy family and campfires are just part of our lives, especially in the winter. My kids and I were enjoying the night, watching the fire, listening to music, eating a snack, having fun, and the next thing I remember is my four-year-old daughter screaming.”
In a matter of seconds, Westyn somehow got over the barricade surrounding the fire and fell backwards into the flames. Amy rushed to his aid and pulled him out by his feet with her bare hands. Even though her own hands were on fire, the adrenaline and a mother’s will to save her child kicked in. After rolling her baby on the ground to put out the flames, Amy called 9-1-1 and waited what seemed like forever for the ambulance to arrive.
Westyn was initially taken to Yuma Regional Medical Center where, in critical condition, he was intubated and sedated because of the excruciating pain. After five hours, doctors determined he needed to be moved to a specialized facility to treat the severity of his burns. So Westyn and his mother were flown to the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health in Phoenix.
“When we got to Valleywise, the doctors took action right away,” said Amy. “This burn center is incredible and the medical team knew they needed to act fast. One of the first things I remember the doctor telling me was that my son was in very, very critical condition and – if he survived – I needed to plan on him being in the hospital for a couple months. She said it was going to be a really, really long and slow journey. Though I didn’t really have time to process things, I told her we would do whatever needed to be done to keep Westyn alive.”
Westyn sustained third-degree burns over 45% of his body. He spent four months at the Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise and had so many surgeries his mother stopped counting. “I tried to write down all the procedures in my phone but once we got upwards of 30 surgeries, I just lost track,” she said.
With most burn patients, especially children, surgeries and therapy are a way of life. Westyn will continue to wear splints on his arms 19 hours a day for several more months. The splints keep his arms held in place over his head to ensure the scarring across his back doesn’t affect his mobility long term. Westyn recently had both pinkies amputated but that’s not slowing him down, either. After being discharged on April 5, Westyn and his mom traveled to Phoenix for appointments every other day. At home they do bandage changes and therapy. Even though some days are hard for Westyn, it’s a far cry from his time in the hospital where for weeks medical professionals weren’t sure he would survive and he endured respiratory failure several times.
To ensure the best long-term outcome, Westyn will have regular follow-up appointments at the burn center, along with physical therapy for many years to come.
“Living through the four months we spent at Valleywise felt like so long at the time, but looking back now, it’s pretty amazing how quickly Westyn’s little body was able to overcome the trauma of his ordeal and heal,” Amy said. “He went from being on ventilator for nearly a month before it was replaced with a tracheostomy, to sitting in a chair hooked up to all sorts of machines, to eventually being able to walk around the unit and play in therapy. His recovery is nothing short of miraculous.”
Westyn is working his way back to doing what other kids his age do – running around 100 miles an hour, riding his bike and scooter, swinging his rope and playing with his toy trucks. For the most part, he’s back home in Yuma with his five-year-old sister and twin brother Wyatt. For Westyn, and other pediatric burn survivors, the best therapy is to play and be a kid.
“I wouldn’t want Westyn to be at any other facility,” Amy said. “The Valleywise team treated my son like he was their son. He’s going to have surgery throughout his life as he grows, but I cannot imagine going anywhere but Valleywise. They saved my son’s life and for that I am forever grateful.”