Young Ukrainian Burn Victim Touching Lives Of U.S. Hospital Staf - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

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Young Ukrainian Burn Victim Touching Lives Of U.S. Hospital Staff

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BOSTON, MA- A little boy thousands of miles from home.

But now, getting the treatment he so desperately needs.

He was badly burned in Ukraine.

And he's healing now thanks to a team of doctors in Boston.

From the moment you meet him, you can't help but fall in love with Ihor Lakatosh.

He doesn't give people a choice.

"Anyone comes in to the room he wants to greet them - he wants to get to know them in his way," says occupational therapist Katie Hartigan.

His doctors at Shriner's in Boston, say that knack for drawing people in may have been a survival mechanism for the severely injured Ukrainian orphan.

"He just worms his way into everyone's hearts so you can't help but want to take care of him," says Hartigan.

Ihor was abandoned by his mother when he was 3, she dropped him off at the hospital with burns.

"Mom poured some water on me - hot water," said Ihor in Russian.

It's not clear whether Ihor was burned by water or in a house fire.

But roughly 30% of his body was somehow burned.

And because his burns weren't treated properly, Ihor's scar tissue fused his arm to his chest.

Because that was the way his arm had been hanging in bandages.

His fingers became stuck to his wrist.

And he had trouble moving his legs, leaving him unable to walk.

He became severely malnourished, unable to speak more than a few words, walk or bend his arms. He was taken to a special orphanage for children with mental handicaps, even though Ihor is bright.

But exactly 2 years ago, a doctor right here in Boston saw a picture of the now 10-year-old and instantly knew he just had to help.

"Initially there was a simple way to treat the burn but when you don't treat it it becomes more complex," said Dr. Gennadiy Fuzaylov.

Fuzaylov, a physician at Massachusetts general and Shriner's, runs Doctors Collaborating To Help Children in his spare time.

An organization that flies burn patients to Shriner's, where no patient is turned away because of lack of insurance.

Most of the children benefitting from doctor's Fuzaylov program, like Ihor come om ukraine...where doctors are scarce.

When Ihor arrived at Shriner's for the first of many visits, he weighed less than 30 pounds, half what he should've been because of stomach problems brought on by his deformities and lack of medical and dental care.

"His normal food was milk and bread and he put his bread to the milk and waited till it got softer and then chewed for hours. He has baby teeth which were rotting."

But after many surgeries and the attention and care of his doctors and occupational therapist Katie he can speak and even manages to communicate with children at Shriner's who only speak Spanish!

And there's another reason people gravitate towards Ihor, besides those social survival skills....

The staff there says he's just so innately happy, despite all he's been through.

And as much as Shriner's has given Ihor, Ihor has given them more.

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