California surgeons restore use of African teen's hand after severe burns


A 16-year-old African teen who suffered severe burns as a child will be able to use his right hand for the first time thanks to doctors at a California burn center.

Jespa Awomah fell into a fire inside his family’s hut in Cameroon, Fox LA reported. He was treated with bandages at a local clinic and lost the use of his right arm and eye. He has also been unable to close his left eye due to scar tissue.

Rashel Mereness of Hermosa Beach, California, was traveling in Africa for a mission when she met Awomah, and made a plea for help on Facebook, Fox LA reported.

Colleen Farrell, the public relations manager at Torrance Memorial Burn Center, saw the post on her newsfeed and forwarded it to the rest of her staff. Through the Children’s Burn Foundation staff made arrangements to transport Awomah to California for treatment.

Dr. Matthew Reiss, the reconstructive surgeon who treated Awomah promised the teen three months ago that he would be would soon be able to use his right hand to shake hands with him. Awomah’s bandages are scheduled to be removed Monday, where he will finally see his new hand and eye, Fox LA reported.

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