Arkansas Children’s Hospital Helps Burn Victim Readjust at School


HEBER SPRINGS, Ark.- A Heber Springs boy badly burned in an accident is having trouble with comments from kids at school. 

His parents say they’re worried that their six year old son is too young to handle so many questions about what happened to him. 

Six year old Gavin Hilton certainly is a superhero.  In the last five months he’s undergone a lot.

“I don’t even remember them taking me into the hospital,” says Gavin. 

Back in March his dad, James Hilton was burning yard waste, when he ran to the front yard to get something the worst happened.

“As I was turning around I see my son falling backwards into the fire pit,” says James.  “His legs were sticking out and I ran as fast as I could.  I got over there and got ahold of him by his ankle [and] pulled him up out of the fire.  His head was on fire.”

A nightmare for the family.  They called 9-11 and Gavin was flown to Arkansas Children’s Hospital.  He suffered burns over 30 percent of his body and required several skin grafts. 

“The most serious scars are on the upper back area, that’s where the most compression is needed,” says his mom, Samantha Hilton.

Now Gavin is back in school but with his compression garments that help with healing.  He looks different than the other kids, so the family asked for help from ACH Child Life Program.

“We talk about why the patient was at the hospital in the first place, talk about what happened and show some pictures of the patient,” says Victoria Snell, a child life specialist with ACH.

Gavin has felt overwhelmed by the questions and comments from classmates about his appearance.

“It’s more they’re just curious and they want to know what’s going on and why does that kid look different than I do and are they okay,” says Snell.

His parents say Gavin is more than okay.  They call him amazing and they’re just thankful for how he’s doing today. 

Gavin has to wear his compression garments for at least a year to keep his scars healing as smooth as possible.

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