After her hands were severely burned last year, a young North Carolina girl is still struggling to recover as her family wrestles with a potentially crippling amount of debt left by her medical treatment.
WTVD News reports Jaymie Ortiz was only 1 when her babysitter allegedly stuck her hands in a pot of boiling water.
In a recent interview with the news station, Jaymie’s parents, Edwin and Patricia Ortiz, recalled the day they got a call from the babysitter saying their daughter had been hurt and they rushed back to their Chapel Hill home.
“She (Jaymie) starts running toward me and she has her hands up, I can see the red flesh and like the skin just hanging off her hands,” Edwin Ortiz said.
The third-degree burns have proven to be long-lasting. So too has the mountain of debt from the ensuing medical bills.
According to a GoFundMe site, set up to help raise money for the family, Jaymie, who is now 2 years old, was treated at nearby University of Chapel Hill Jaycee Burn Center.
Since the incident she has undergone two surgeries for skin grafts. She is scheduled for two more laser surgeries and may have to do more skin grafts in the future.
“Jaymie's a champ,” Edwin told WTVD. “I can tell you this much, I've seen grown men tell me that they wouldn't be able to handle it.”
The surgeries have been largely successful. Jaymie can’t move her thumbs well, but has full mobility in the rest of her hands, according to information on the GoFundMe page.
Edwin Ortiz is a police officer for the city of Durham; he has good insurance. But the family is still facing about $20,000 in medical bills for which they will have to pay out of pocket.
That became all the more difficult to do when Patricia Ortiz had to quit her job to stay home and take care of her injured daughter.
But the family is coping, they say, with the help of Edwin Ortiz’s co-workers who started the GoFundMe page.
The Durham officer told WTVD that he is not only thankful his daughter seems to be healing well and is in good spirits, but that his friends have offered to help.
"You realize how many people out there really care about you," he said. "You'll see there's a lot of good people out there.”
The babysitter, who was not named in reports, was later charged with neglect and felony child abuse.
Photo Credit: GoFundMe: Jaymie’s Medical Fund