A huge explosion shocked Theresa McNair when she returned home from work a few days after the Fourth of July. She figured it was youngsters from the neighborhood having fun with leftover Christmas pyrotechnics.
The Fort Lauderdale mom did not realize it was her own child who had been injured until later and that the massive explosion had been caused by a grenade-like firework that had blasted off her son’s right hand and blinded him in one eye.
Javonte McNair, 14, is still recovering from his mental and physical traumas a year later. He is blind in one eye and can no longer play football, his favorite sport.
In an interview with local media, his mother remarked, “It has been very difficult.”
A Firework Had Already Been Set Off
Javonte was riding his bike across the neighborhood when he came across an onion bomb, a highly destructive firecracker that can be lawfully purchased in Florida with parental approval.
He picked it up without realizing it was already lit. The explosive detonated in his grasp, cutting his right hand from his arm and causing him to be blasted in the face. The bomb sprayed hot debris into his eye, causing severe damage to his cornea and lens.
He was transported to the hospital’s emergency room, but doctors were unable to reconnect his hand.
Saving Javonte’s Eye
Doctors at Miami’s Bascom Palmer Eye Institute were able to salvage Javonte’s remaining eye. In order to restore Javonte’s vision, ophthalmologist Ajay Kuriyan, M.D., and a team of doctors, including Tayyeba Ali, M.D., and Brian Tse, M.D., underwent hours of emergency surgery.
However, the damage to the eyes was severe.
The retina of Javonte’s eye had separated, and the globe had ruptured. Javonte acquired a cataract, which had to be removed, and he also had corneal transplant surgery, as with many traumatic eye injuries. Dr. Kuriyan was successful in saving the eye. He is still blind, but he will have further procedures in the near future to try to recover some of his vision.
“He was hurt by a firecracker that was essentially a grenade,” Dr. Kuriyan explained. “It is a complete pity that this occurred. Working in the emergency room, we see injuries like these every year during the Fourth of July.”
Each Year, Fireworks Hurt Thousands of People.
According to a 2015 report by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 10,500 fireworks-related injuries treated in American emergency rooms in 2014. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has issued another public health warning, this time encouraging people to avoid using fireworks at home because of the danger of catastrophic injury, especially to children.
“It is easy to forget about the dangers of consumer fireworks around the Fourth of July,” said Philip R. M.D. Philip R. Rizzuto, The American Academy of Ophthalmology’s clinical representative and ophthalmologist. “We believe that by leaving fireworks to the experts, people will be able to enjoy in the safest way possible.”
Fireworks are sometimes marketed as toys. You might believe you know how to deal with them safely. Playing with fireworks might cause you or your loved ones to become temporarily blind. This year, leave the fireworks to the pros.