At the East Meadow hospital where an 11-year-old boy was recovering from burns — a casualty of a popular but dangerous Internet trend called the fire challenge — Nassau officials did their best to poor water on plans of anyone else considering the stunt.
People attempting the fire challenge, mostly teenagers, douse themselves in flammable liquid, set themselves on fire and jump into a running shower to put out the fire. They then upload the video to social media.
“Our message is very short and succinct: Do not set yourself on fire,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow.
He added: “So, we’re asking the media to help us extinguish the fire challenge.”
The warning comes one week after police said a Far Rockaway 12-year-old covered himself in rubbing alcohol, set himself ablaze and burned more than 40 percent of his body attempting the challenge.
The boy was admitted to the medical center’s burn unit last Tuesday. He had suffered third-degree burns on 40 percent of his body, including both arms, chest, abdomen and neck, said Dr. Louis H. Riina, assistant director of the burn center.Riina said the boy “got scared and he ran the other way,” instead of jumping into the shower. The child is doing “relatively well,” in the pediatric intensive care unit after undergoing an extensive reconstructive procedure on Friday, but he was fighting for his life over the weekend, Riina said.
He will require more surgeries and is expected to remain at the burn center for another two weeks, Riina said.
“As a parent, a surgeon, this is an alarming situation,” Riina said. “We have to have very frank discussions with our children.”
This is the first case involving a victim of the fire challenge the hospital has received, said Dr. Victor Politi, president and chief executive officer of the NuHealth System, which operates the medical center.
Suffolk County police said they had not received any reports of people performing the social media stunt. Teenagers who have attempted the challenge have been injured other parts of the country and in the United Kingdom, according to media reports.
With Rachel Uda