A 2-year-old Hanford boy who was severely burned from falling into a tub of boiling water on New Year’s Day is improving at Community Regional Medical Center, said the boy’s aunt, Tiffany Bass, on Wednesday afternoon.
Bass said Austin Chandler underwent surgery to repair skin on his arms and arm pits and continues to fight a lung infection, believed to be pneumonia, but was in stable condition Wednesday afternoon. Austin is connected to a ventilator, but is breathing somewhat on his own — what he was unable to do on Sunday, Bass said.
To prevent Austin from trying to pull out his breathing tube, he remains sedated and unconscious, but that could change any day.
“It’s all up to the little guy. … Once he starts breathing on his own, that’s when they will wake him up,” Bass said.
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Bass said the bucket of boiling water that Austin fell into was filled by his mother, who was preparing to mix the boiling water with cold to bathe him since the family’s water heater was broken. Austin received second-and-third-degree burns to his face, head, arms and upper torso.
Detective Kevin Smyres with the King County Sheriff’s Office said the incident “was just a horrific accident” and no charges will be filed against Austin’s family.
Bass said hospital test results are expected soon to ensure Austin has pneumonia and not a more serious lung infection. Austin was born with premature lungs and contracted respiratory syncytial virus at 3 months old.
Bass said Austin only had one surgery to repair his skin and that no others are planned.
“He’s getting better, it’s just going to be a long road for him. … Doctors say when he does recover from this, he will have to re-learn to walk and use his hands. He’s going to be like a newborn baby.”
Bass is caring for the Chandlers’ three other children — ages 6, 8 and 10 — while Austin’s parents stay at Terry’s House, which provides low-cost lodging across from the hospital for families of critical patients. Bass said Austin’s mother works at Jack in the Box and his father is on disability.
Donations are being accepted online at GoFundMe.com or checks can be made out to Tanya O’Daniel, a family friend, and deposited in an account at Bank of Sierra: 1173121408. Outside of donations, Bass said, the family is asking for prayers.