Breakthrough Treatment for Victims of Burns

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Victims of Burns put into medically-induced coma

Tiara Del Rio, 21, woke up from a three-week medically induced coma after being critically burned on more than half her body in an October house explosion.

Del Rio and her boyfriend, Beau Zimbro, were winding down one day when authorities believe, she ignited a natural-gas leak explosion by lighting a candle. The candle exploded in her face.

Zimbro then grabbed Del Rio and carried her out a window that had blown open in the explosion. He stopped, dropped and rolled while she rolled herself in the dirt.

She had second- and third-degree burns on her face, arms, hands, lower extremities and feet. Because her back was the only available donor site on her body to regrow skin to treat her burns the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted special permission to the Arizona Burn Center, at Maricopa Medical Center, to use a new procedure that uses a skin spray.

Skin spray treatment heals burns quicker with less scarring

The treatment is considered less invasive than traditional skin grafting and has been found to heal more quickly and create less scarring. The treatment also has the potential to decrease patients' length of stay as well as the number of operations.

Del Rio said, “I’m never going to be 100 percent, and I know that. But I look at it this way: I got a second chance, because I shouldn’t have lived.”

Zimbro’s body was covered in first- and second-degree burns, including his hands, face, head and torso. He also received the skin-spray treatment. He is recovering at the Arizona Burn Center.

Both Del Rio and Zimbro did not expect to survive the blast, and when they first saw each other in the hospital they just sat and started at each other in awe. She often stops by his room to check up on him.

Del Rio is heading to inpatient rehabilitation. She knows her life will never be the same again but she is healing well physically and hopes to return to return to normalcy — and her own bed at home.

“I’m not scared. I’m more happy because I was given a second chance,” she said. “I’m 21 years old. I still have a huge life ahead of me, and this is just one setback.”

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