Putnam County boy who was severely burned is now off ventilator, but faces lengthy recovery

Doctors were forced to amputate four of Nathan’s fingers on one hand and all his fingertips on the other hand

Four weeks after an accident critically burned Nathan Scott, 5, he is finally off a ventilator but he still has a long road to recovery.

News4JAX has been in contact with the boy’s mother, Katie Scott. She’s been by his side since he was flown from UF Health in Gainesville to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Galveston Texas. She told News4JAX she burst into tears when her son spoke for the first time after being removed from a ventilator. She said Nathan still struggles to speak clearly.

“He is attempting to talk but his throat is very sore, so he’s mumbling. He said no a couple of times. He said, momma. He said, daddy. Love you,” Nathan’s mom said. She also said she tries not to cry in front of him because she doesn’t want to scare him.

Scott family (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

Nathan is currently receiving skin through a process called allograft.

“So, it’s cadaver graft. It’s a donated graft. They have not begun doing autograft yet,” said Nathan’s mom.

Autograft is the process of using a patient’s own skin for surgical reconstruction procedures. Allograft takes skin and tissue from another person, but it takes longer to incorporate into the recipient’s body.

“When he first got here, they did cultures and he had some growths from the culture, but they had to clear up some of the infection before they could do an autograft. They want it on very clean and pristine skin,” said Nathan’s mom, who also said her son will have to undergo physical and speech therapy to relearn how to move and talk.

Unfortunately, doctors were forced to amputate four of Nathan’s fingers on one hand and all his fingertips on the other hand. His mother said before he is released from the hospital, she and her husband will have to retrofit their home back in Hawthorn to help Nathan adjust to his new physical limitations.

Nathan’s injuries are the result of a freak accident on Christmas Eve. He was helping his family clear yard debris when a burn barrel that was being used to burn the debris exploded. 65% of his body was severely burned. He was rushed to UF Health in Gainesville and then flown to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas.

Nathan Scott (Copyright 2023 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.)

His mother lost her full-time job as a nurse because she needed to be by her son’s side in Texas. Her husband and their other children remained in Florida. As a result of the family being forced to rely on income from Nathan’s father, the Putnam County Fire Dept. held a boot drive to raise money for Nathan and his family. Several businesses in Putnam County and Alachua County have also now stepped up to help.

“So many places are doing fundraising and different events for Nathan. The boot drive left us stunned,” said Nathan’s mom.

Katie Scott said she and her husband are also feeling a little better now that their son is off a ventilator.

“Physically yes. I got very sick from anxiety, depression, and fear. I wasn’t eating well, and I wasn’t sleeping well. But we’ve gotten better. We have really rallied to be stronger for Nathan. This is scary. We’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Nathan’s mom.

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