Chris Rotella

In July 2016, 27-year-old Chris Rotella and a friend were working on a 34-foot cabin cruiser in a canal in Fort Lauderdale, when the boat suddenly exploded. Chris suffered burns to 60 percent of his body and was rushed to the UM/JM Burn Center at Ryder Trauma Center.

“I could see the flames flying off my arm, coming off my legs,” remembers Chris.

Chris had inflammation around his lungs and heart, and he wasn’t getting enough oxygen into his bloodstream.

He was placed under a medically induced coma for 12 days while he received extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a treatment commonly referred to as ECMO, in which a machine takes over the work of the lungs and the heart to allow those organs time to rest and recover.

Chris spent 30 days in the intensive care unit and was discharged from the hospital 18 days later. He also underwent physical and occupational therapy for several months.

“I feel great now. I am still in pain. I still have thoughts of the accidents,” said Chris. “I’m very lucky to be alive. I’m very appreciative of everything and everyone at the burn center.”

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“Jackson treated me fantastically, especially their caring staff and brilliant doctors,” Woody said. “Jackson is a special place where countless people get excellent care, particularly those who need it the most.”

Steven Avila

“I’m grateful to Ryder Trauma Center,” he said. “They saved my life. The treatment was the best in the world.”

Desiree Meyer

“I have fond memories of Ryder and the medical staff,” Desiree said. “Everyone was so great to me. They made me feel like I was not alone.”

Tiffany Davis & Skyla Milton

“Doctors made sure I was all right before I got out of the hospital,” said Davis, “and I hope they just keep it up and save other people, like how they worked on me.”