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Apr 25, 2003

Burn victim awaits care in U.S.A.

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It is one of the most dangerous injuries that the human body can sustain…and tonight one seriously burned child lies in pain at the K.H.M.H.. He is waiting for the trip to the U.S.A. that is his only remaining chance for a full recovery. News 5′s Jacqueline Woods, who first brought you this story last week, has the latest developments.

Jacqueline Woods, Reporting

A comforting hand is all Jenny Ortega can do to ease the pain her eight year old son, Jose Luis, endures after suffering first and second degree burns to his legs, hands, chest and face. Since we visited the child on April fifteenth, his face appears to have cleared up, but both legs are badly infected and doctors fear he may loose them.

Jenny Ortega, Mother

“The doctor said if I leave him in the hospital, they will have to cut his foot. I don’t want this; I don’t want them to cut my child’s foot. I don’t want them to cut my child’s foot.”

It is not certain if any further medical treatment will be able to save Ortega’s legs, but he does need specialized care to enable him to have a normal life as possible. One organization that has been working hard to provide that help, is the Belize Emergency Response Team. Today when we learned that Ortega was being prepared to be air ambulanced to Texas, News 5 went to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital to spend time with him. Ortega was in pain and sad that his mother would not be accompanying him on the journey.

Jose Luis Ortega, Burn Victim

“I noh want go deh.”

Jacqueline Woods

“Why you noh want go?”

Jose Luis Ortega

“Because I ‘fraid.”

Jacqueline Woods

“But by going away you will get better.”

Jose Luis Ortega

“I want my mommy to go with me.”

Ortega says due to passport problems she won’t be able to go on the trip, however her friend, Wendy Montes, will accompany Jose Luis. Ortega was badly burned after he claims a teenaged boy set him on fire inside this play tunnel in his family’s backyard in Ladyville. The police did take the suspect in custody, but released him pending the outcome of their investigation.

Wendy Montes, Family Friend

“I feel really bad about that and whosoever did that to the little boy, I hope he considers what he really do to him.”

“The next thing we really need, we di try to get him out to let him come back healthy, you know everything well. But the mother really needs help. Whosoever want to help her to pay the bills, she will appreciate that.”

The air ambulance will cost Ortega twenty thousand dollars and that does not include the other expenses at the hospital. Today, the trip did not go off as planned due to a number of delays, but BERT says arrangements are being made to have Ortega fly to Shriners Hospital in Texas sometime over the weekend.

At K.H.M.H., the nurses and doctors took good care of their young patient. Today, the public is asked to help Ortega pay for the care that will bring her son back to good health.

Wendy Montes

“Because she has no money right and for the hospital thing, the plane ticket, everything he need, she have to pay a good money. I don’t know how much money she have to pay, but I hear it’s a good amount. So whosoever could help the little boy we will appreciate that.”

If you would like to help Jose Luis Ortega, you can deposit your donations into BERT’s Burn Victim Mercy Fund. The Belize Bank Account number is 5052111 or you can get in touch with Yvette Burks at telephone number 223-3292. Jacqueline Woods for News 5.

According to Jenny Ortega, since their son has been in the hospital the police have not yet visited him to talk about the incident.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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