Two years after an explosion engulfed her home in flames and left her burned over 60 percent of her body burned, Kevineshia Adams, 21, is working to inspire other burn survivors like her and help them cope with their injuries.
In the summer of 2016, Adams was home with her grandmother, mother and older brother when their house burst into flames following an explosion that Adams believes was caused by a gas leak.
“A few days before, we smelled gas but we ignored it because it went away,” Adams said. “The morning of the fire, I remember my grandmother waking up. She was on fire and she was telling us to all get out of the house.”
Adams’ family members tragically perished in the fire, but she was able to escape.
“My only way out was to break a window,” she said.
First responders transported Adams, then 19 years old, to the John S. Dunn Burn Center at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, where physicians immediately began treating her injuries. The Dunn Burn Center is the only comprehensive burn center in Houston.
“The burn team carefully managed Kevineshia’s burn wounds and our multidisciplinary burn team assisted Kevineshia throughout her admission to help her cope with both her physical and emotional pain as a result of her injuries and personal loss,” said Todd Huzar, MD, director of pediatric burn surgery at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and an assistant professor of the Department of Surgery at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth.
Adams remained in the burn unit for a month, where she underwent skin grafts on her right arm due to third degree burn wounds until she was able to be transferred to Memorial Hermann Southwest Hospital for additional wound care treatment.
While at Memorial Hermann Southwest, Adams underwent extensive rehabilitation to restore strength to her muscles, and learned how to stand and walk again.
“It was a hard time for me because I felt alone,” Adams said. “However, I knew and felt that my family would want me to continue to push forward and live a great life.”
Being a Role Model for Other Survivors
The experience changed the trajectory of Adams’ life. She is now pursuing her nursing degree and hopes to one day to be able to save others like her by working on the exact burn unit that saved her life. She frequently visits the Dunn Burn Center and talks to patients, and also donates money to those in similar situations as hers.
“Today, I can say I have a much more positive outlook and I want to inspire others who have been severely burned to not give up,” she said.
As a leading provider of trauma care, Memorial Hermann is committed to preventing needless traumatic injuries and deaths. According to the American Burn Association, burns account for more than 1 million injuries requiring medical attention each year, which is why it’s critically important to understand fire safety and prevention. “If at any time you smell gas in your home, especially if you are not cooking, stop what you are doing, evacuate your home and call both the gas company and your local fire department from outside your home to prevent an explosion from occurring,” Huzar said. For additional burn injury prevention tips, visit https://trauma.memorialhermann.org/safety-tips/burn-injury-prevention/.