Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

As boy recovers from burns, mother questions Spring Hill Regional Hospital's decision

SPRING HILL — April Fisher can breathe easier now that she knows her son will be okay.

After being burned in a recent house fire, 3-year-old De'jon Newberry remains in stable condition at Tampa General Hospital. Fisher said he is expected to remain in the hospital for a week, while full recovery could take months.

The boy and his older sister were playing in the garage of the family's home at 13337 Teaberry Lane on June 4, pretending to be camping. A bed sheet the kids were using as a makeshift tent caught fire when they started playing with a cigarette lighter, according to a Hernando County Sheriff's Office report.

The resulting fire left De'jon with second- and third-degree burns on his arms, head, neck and scalp. The girl, who is Fisher's daughter, was unharmed.

The children were unsupervised at the time, but Mary Rodi, a caseworker for the Florida Department of Children and Families, determined that there was no neglect involved.

Fisher said she rushed De'jon to Spring Hill Regional Hospital but was surprised by the response. The emergency room staff simply patched him up and sent him home, she said.

"They didn't even try to treat him. He was burned pretty badly," said Fisher, who noted that her family does have medical insurance.

Fisher took her son to Tampa General Hospital, where he underwent surgery. The process included skin grafting, a surgical procedure involving replacing burned areas of the body with a skin substitute for a temporary healing on his right arm.

"They actually took care of my child (Tampa General Hospital)," Fisher said. "I'm so glad he's doing better."

Alex Contreras, the CEO of Spring Hill Regional Hospital, said burn victims are treated on a case-by-case basis. Those decisions, he said, are made entirely by the doctor on duty in the emergency room at that time.

"It really depends on how urgent the burns are," Contreras said last week. "The location of the burns on the victim is also important."

Contreras declined to comment on this or any other individual case. He said no person who enters Spring Hill Regional Hospital is ever turned away or treated unfairly.

"We try our best and we would never turn anyone away," Contreras said.

Fisher also took issue with the comments made by a neighbor after the incident that she leaves her children unattended. She said that the home is in a cul-de-sac and that she had a couch and other furniture set up in the garage so that she and other adults can have the garage door open and monitor the children playing in the yard.

A Hernando County Sheriff's Office report stated that the children had been left unsupervised for about 10 minutes at the time of the fire. The DCF said there had been a mix-up in communication among the adults in the home as to who was watching the children.

Ryan Strong can be reached at or (352) 544-1630.

As boy recovers from burns, mother questions Spring Hill Regional Hospital's decision 06/14/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 17, 2009 2:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. For some, Memorial Day comes around more than just once a year


    ST. PETERSBURG — It is shortly before nine on a Friday morning, and the heat is already approaching unbearable levels at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

    Iles carefully digs up the St. Augustine grass so that it will continue to grow when it is placed back on the gravesite. He tries not to disturb the root base.
  2. State budget uncertainty has school districts 'very concerned'


    While waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to approve or veto the Legislature's education budget, the people in charge of school district checkbooks are trying hard to find a bottom line.

    It has not been easy.

    The unsettled nature of Florida’s education budget has left school districts with questions about how they will make ends meet next year. []
  3. Ernest Hooper: Removing Confederate symbols doesn't eliminate persistent mindset

    Human Interest

    The debate has begun about removing a Confederate statue from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and its removal is long overdue.

    Robert E. Lee Elementary, 305 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa, originally opened its doors in the early 1910s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. [Times file]
  4. What you need to know for Monday, May 29


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    In the weeks before Memorial Day, cemetery caretaker Gary Iles and the staff at Bay Pines National Cemetery are busy preparing the sprawling property for the annual ceremony honoring the fallen. Iles, an Army veteran who started out as a volunteer at Bay Pines, says working at the cemetery is a way for him to continue serving those who died for their country. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Review / photos: Sunset Music Festival wraps up with Above and Beyond, more at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa


    The first numbers trickled in on Sunday, and they didn't look great.

    Louis the Child performed at the Sunset Music Festival at Raymond James Stadium on May 28, 2017.