Make a Difference for Mike

On November 15th, while working on a power line as a high voltage lineman, Mike was injured by an arc flash. When the ambulance arrived, Mike was electrocuted and badly burned. They rushed to the best burn center in the area, Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Florida.  Sara, Mike’s wife, got the call that he was hurt at work and hurried to the hospital, where she has stayed by his side since. That night he was taken for emergency debridement surgery to remove all the burnt skin. After the surgery, Mike was immediately sent to an isolation room in the ICU to begin his recovery. Sara was informed that Mike did well during the surgery, but had sustained burns (mostly 3rd degree) to his face, neck, chest, arms, and back...56% of his body. He would need multiple debridements and skin grafts. Due to the high percentage of burns to Mike’s body, they took skin samples from his healthy skin and sent it off to a lab to grow Cultured Epithelial Autografts (CEA’s) to use in future grafting surgeries. Though it was going to be a very long road to recovery from the burns, his plastic surgeon mentioned that Mike did not have a direct contact with the power lines so there was no signs of internal damage from the electrocution at that time.

Mike was unconscious for 18 days. During that time he was heavily sedated and on a lot of pain medications. There were lots of ups and downs as his body was trying to heal in between multiple debridements, a skin grafting, and a tracheostomy. On December 3rd, Mike was finally weaned from the sedation and was awake for the first time since his accident. Since then Mike had another skin grafting surgery and, through his determination and strength, has made good progress with his therapy and healing.

While he continues to heal and grow stronger, doctors and nurses must be vigilant watching for infections, graft failures, and other complications. Mike has daily physical, occupational, and speech therapy, along visits from the burn unit, doctors and his plastic surgeon. As of right now, Mike’s medical team anticipates him be in the ICU for at least another month, with the possibility of being sent to a rehabilitation facility before being released to go home. When Mike does get released, he will still need therapy and follow up appointments for as long as needed.

Although the majority of Mike’s medical bills and lost wages will be covered by the Worker’s Compensation Claim and Mike's employer, Sara has been unable to work so she can be with him at the hospital.  There are things that are becoming difficult to manage financially. While both families have been able to come down from the Chicagoland area to help for a limited time, Mike and Sara live in Southwest Florida without relatives close enough to assist during Mike’s recovery on a regular basis. All monetary donations will be given directly to Mike and Sara to help defer fuel costs from the daily 90-mile round trip, potential lawyer fees, food expenses, possible boarding of their 3 dogs, and unforeseen medical items when Mike gets to go home.  Please help so Sara can continue focusing on Mike while he heals and recovers.  Any contribution will temper the stress of feeling like they can't make ends meet.

Make a Difference for Mike.  And Sara.  Any contribution will be greatly appreciated.  Make a difference - today!  Thanks for taking the time to read Mike and Sara’s story.
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Organizer and beneficiary

Bobbie Piwnicki 
Orland Park, IL
Sara Jeanette 
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