Jozie Ward Woodfin has come a long way since June 29, 2016, when an accident left him severely burned and fighting for his life in the intensive care unit.
His father, William D. Woodfin, III, won’t soon forget that day as Jozie was airlifted within an hour from his local hospital in Alabama’s Black Belt to Children’s of Alabama, where Jozie remained in intensive care for three weeks before being transferred to Children’s Burn Center.
Each year, more than 170 children from Alabama and bordering communities are admitted to the Burn Center, recognized nationally for providing excellent care for traumatically burned children. The average hospital stay of a severely burned child is more than seven days. Due to his injuries, Jozie’s length of stay was 59 days.
“This place became our second home, but everything was the best,” William said. “We have no complaints at all.”
Jozie underwent daily dressing changes and hydrotherapy to promote healing and prevent infection. The treatment can be a painful experience, but Jozie put on a brave face every time.
“He’s a hard working patient. He wasn’t a complainer, he wasn’t a whiner,” said Burn Center charge nurse Sue Rowe. “That’s not always the case, but [Jozie’s recovery] is a testament to how hard he has worked.”
Jozie was discharged from Children’s a week before his 12th birthday and has since returned to school and other activities. Every six weeks, Jozie and his father make the drive from their hometown of Sprott, Ala., to Children’s for Jozie’s physical therapy. On a recent visit, Jozie visited the Burn Center, where the nurses who cared for him awaited with smiles and warm hugs.
Jozie also got to tour the Burn Center’s newly renovated hydrotherapy room, which has adopted an acquatic theme with sea animal wall skins. In addition, two 42-inch LED monitors were installed in the hydrotherapy room – one on the wall and one on the ceiling – for patients to watch programming during treatment, a positive distractor. Said Jozie of the upgrade, “It’s cool!”
Jozie is now back to riding four-wheelers, hunting and watching his favorite television show “MythBusters.” His favorite movie? “‘The Expendables!’ I’ve seen all three of them!” Jozie said.
His father looks on with pride. They have come a long way, indeed.
“We can’t thank the hospital enough for what they’ve done, their support and the support of our family, friends and community,” William said. “We’re all kind of like family now.”