TN Meth Lab burn victim update: Stanley Stewart

On November 28, 24 year old Stanley Stewart, was air-lifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center when his face and arms were burned during a meth lab explosion at 99 Fescue Road, just outside of Dunlap, TN.  A month later,  Stewart is still being treated for his burns, despite being released from Vanderbilt and placed in to the custody of the Sequatchie County Sheriff’s Office.

Meth lab fire – sample photo

Stewart, who is just 24 years old, now spends his days in a special medical cell that must be disinfected daily. In order to keep his burns from getting infected, he is required to take 2 showers a day.  Medical staff also provide him with burn care in jail and the Sheriff’s office reports that they are transporting him back and forth to  Vanderbilt Medical Center for follow-up care and examinations.

According to information on Family Doctor. org,  the website of the American Academy of Family Physicians, burns that still need treatment a month after the initial injury are likely to be second and third degree burns.  Considering the fact that Stewart is still receiving burn treatment,  a month after the explosion, the burns to his face and hands are either second degree or third degree burns, or both.  Second degree burns, which can take up to three weeks to heal, destroy the top two layers of skin. As you might imagine, having your nerve endings in tact and close to the surface of the wound make second degree burns very painful.  Additionally, second degree burns make your skin feel itchy as they heal, adding further torment to the burn victim who must be extremely careful not to infect their burns when scratching them.  The good news, if there is any about second degree burns, is that they will usually heal without skin or synthetic grafts to cover exposed tissue. The same can not be said about third degree burns. Third degree burns, are the most serious kind of burn. Third degree burns destroy all layers of the skin (photo) and damage underlying nerves, fat, muscles and bone.  Damage to nerves helps to deaden what would otherwise be unbearable pain for victims suffering from third degree burns.  While that might bring some temporary comfort to the burn victim, that damage often lasts a lifetime.

On the day that Stewart was air-lifted to Vanderbilt Medical Center to get treated for his burns, he may not have realized just how to close to death, he actually was.  The toxic fumes from the meth lab alone could have killed him. According to the Mayo Clinic “difficulty inhaling and exhaling, carbon monoxide poisoning, or other toxic effects may occur if smoke inhalation accompanies the burn.”, all of which put Stewart at great risk of losing his life. Although, he may not be feeling particularly lucky these days, he has been given a second chance to change his way of life. If he chooses to go back to making meth, like so many do, he will lose his life, no ifs, ands, or buts.  Given the chance, meth will kill him and either kill or destroy his family and friends.

Two women, Cynthia Morgan, 20, and Juanita Gray, 42 were also present at the site of the explosion, but they escaped unharmed according to reports about the incident. But, they have not escaped the charges that have been brought against Stewart. They have all been charged with  manufacturing meth and initiation of the methamphetamine manufacture process. Investigators say they were using anhydrous ammonia to manufacture methamphetamine.

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