ELYRIA — A 7-year-old boy with Down syndrome who was burned after he dumped a pot of hot coffee onto his chest and stomach is out of the hospital, but far from being OK, his family said.
The second-degree burns Jacob Moss of Elyria received on 40 percent of his body are clean and not infected, but they have kept the child in constant pain since the accident Wednesday afternoon at the Murray Ridge School, said his mother, Kimberly Moss.
“I know my son and he is not OK,” Moss said. “An OK child is not on Percocet and morphine.”
Jacob was released from the hospital Friday afternoon by doctors at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. The doctors said they hoped the familiar atmosphere of his home will make him more comfortable as he heals, his mother said, adding that her son will need weeks of outpatient follow-up care.
“This shouldn’t have happened,” she said. “Parents of special-needs children send their kids to a special school because you think they will know how to prevent this sort of thing.”
The incident took place inside a classroom at the school operated by the Lorain County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities. Jacob, who was born with Down syndrome, was with an aide when he broke free and ran toward a life skills learning center near the classroom.
There was a coffee pot in the area, which is used by teachers to teach basic living skills to the older students who attend the school, and Jacob grabbed the brewing liquid, dumping it on his body.
The incident has sparked an internal investigation at the school, said Tim Donohue, school spokesman.
Donohue said no one has been placed on administrative leave as a result of the incident, and all five adults in the room at the time of the accident — one teacher and four aides — are still with the school.
“We have full-time incident investigators that are looking into it, and I can’t say much until that process has run its course,” he said.
If there was any indication of abuse or neglect the person is immediately removed, but as of right now this is being looked at as an accident — an unfortunate and terrible accident.”
Donohue said the school has removed all coffee pots and similar appliances from the school to prevent such accidents from happening in the future.
Moss said regardless of the investigation’s outcome, she is leery about sending her son back to the school.
“I send him to school so he can learn like every other child, but I need to know that there will be people there to keep him focused and safe so he can learn like every other child."
Contact Lisa Roberson at 653-6268 or firstname.lastname@example.org.