The father of a freshman severely injured in a Thurston Hall fire last week said his condition is improving ‘very slowly.”
Kevin McLaughlin, 19, was severely burned after an electric grill in his ninth floor room made contact with his sheets. He is listed in critical condition and underwent a tracheostomy last week. A tracheostomy is a procedure in which an incision is placed through the neck to facilitate breathing. His burns are primarily on his chest and face,
“He’s doing better every day,” said his father, Timothy McLaughlin.
Timothy McLaughlin, an orthopedic surgeon, said his son needs a ventilator at times but is breathing on his own for longer periods. Kevin’s family hopes he will be taken off the ventilator in a week; he will be in the hospital for four to six weeks.
Timothy McLaughlin said Kevin’s condition could deteriorate if there are infections or lung complications. Kevin is “vulnerable to those sort of things in the next week,” his father said. While Kevin can’t talk and is forced to mouth words, he seems to be mentally sound.
Kevin McLaughlin was pledging the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He is well liked among those living with him on the ninth floor.
“I partied with him. He is awesome,” said fellow ninth floor resident Visilis Kyriacou. “He is a good kid.”
Others on the floor agreed with Kyriacou and said those living on the ninth floor are close to him.
“He’s a really, really nice guy and really generous,” said ninth-floor resident Rebecca Abboud. “He always wants people to come visit him and say hello.”
Students in Thurston are showing their support for McLaughlin. Immediately after the fire, residents signed a get-well card for him. Ninth floor residents are also collecting money to put together a gift basket for McLaughlin while he is in the hospital.
“Right now he can only get cards, but we are going to get him some CDs, DVDs and GW apparel and give it to his parents when he gets out of the burn center,” Abboud said.
“It’s really wonderful,” said Kevin’s father of the support his son has received. Kevin had 20 visitors to his room Saturday night.