By EMILY WEAVER
News Staff Reporter
Photo courtesy of Lora Miller Hunter Hammons smiles for the camera while wearing a Santa hat during the holidays. The 5-month-old is recovering at Nationwide Children’s Hospital with second and third degree burns. The Mount Vernon Police Department is investigating the cause of the injuries.
The Mount Vernon Police Department confirmed this morning it is investigating what caused burn injuries to an infant on Friday evening.
January 20, 2014
MOUNT VERNON — The parents of 5-month-old Hunter Hammons have been on an emotional roller coaster since Friday. That ride took another turn overnight as the two learned operations to save their son’s leg might not have been as successful as originally thought.
Hunter has been in Nationwide Children’s Hospital since Friday night after his mother, Lora Miller, 18, of Mount Vernon, discovered he had burns on his arm and leg after being taken care of by a family friend.
Miller said Hunter took a bottle after she returned home but then became fussy. When she picked him up he was hot.
“I had left him in a short sleeve shirt and pants, and it was Elmo pajamas, and when I went in to pick him up I was like, wow, [the caregiver] changed you — he was in a long sleeve shirt and long sweats, so I took his clothes off,” said Miller.
It was then, Miller said, the caregiver pointed out the wounds on his leg.
“I walked back into the living room and got him to calm down and then [the caregiver] was like, ‘You need to look at his leg.’ I looked down at his leg and it was gray, like a dark gray,” said Miller.
Overcome with emotion, Miller managed to call 911 for a squad. At Knox Community Hospital, she was told Hunter had second and third degree burns and they would transfer him to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Miller said that due to weather conditions they couldn’t fly out, so they were transported in an ambulance.
“They did surgery on him first thing when he got here to relieve the pressure in his leg and they told us that he had the possibility of losing his leg or his foot,” Miller said. “First it was his foot because he didn’t have circulation in his foot, and then it was his leg because they didn’t know how much muscle was gone. [Monday] they couldn’t find a pulse anywhere past his kneecap but the back of his leg. Yes, it’s that bad; the burn is to the bone.”
Doctors told her Hunter’s burn “was not a scorch burn” and that they “had never seen anything like this and if they did, the baby was on fire and didn’t live … it freaked me out real bad.”
The surgery on Monday led Hunter’s family, including his father, Zac Hammons, who returned home from the U.S. Army, to believe doctors had saved his leg.
“They found a very dull pulse in the top of his foot, which is better than what it has been, better than nothing,” said Miller.
However, Miller told the News this morning “He is back to no nerves in his leg. He will more than likely lose his leg.”
Hunter also suffers from a broken tibia and broken ribs. It is believed those injuries are several days old.
She is still unsure of what caused the injuries to her son.
“This was no accident,” said Miller.
The Mount Vernon Police Department is investigating.
Miller told the News that Hunter is currently in the burn ward. Doctors will continue to monitor the circulation in his leg and foot.