Weird Medicine

12-Year-Old Ends Up With Severe Burns Across His Body After He Tried YouTube 'Fire Challenge'

Fire
A Queens 12-year-old boy becomes the latest person to end up hospitalized after trying to complete the so-called "fire challenge." Pixabay, Public Domain

A familiar saying about playing with fire is sure to ring true for a severely burned 12-year-old boy living in Queens, NY, following his apparent attempt earlier this May to pull off a reckless social media challenge.

As reported by the New York Post, the unidentified 12-year-old went into his bathroom at 8:30 p.m. on May 24, doused himself with rubbing alcohol while standing in the bathtub and set himself on fire. Though he planned to quickly extinguish himself, he was apparently unable to turn on the shower and ran out into the street with the upper half of his body still aflame. After being put out by neighbors and taken to the Nassau University Medical Center Burn Center, doctors determined he ended up with third degree burns that covered at least 40 percent of his body.

Though the boy is expected to pull though, the type of injuries he suffered are known to be especially devastating.

“The burns penetrate the skin and soft tissue and then involve the muscle,” Dr. Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician at Lennox Hill Hospital in nearby Manhattan, told CBS 2. “As they penetrate you lose fluid, causing dehydration and it causes all these inflammatory markers that drop your blood pressure and can put you into shock.”

The so-called ‘fire challenge’ has seemingly become a trend among teens since at least 2014, with YouTube videos of the attempts being none too difficult to find. Ostensibly, challengers are expected to film themselves getting set on fire before immediately having it doused out — a risky task that’s predictably placed several people in the hospital. Last October, Florida teen 15-year-old Robert Seals ended up with second degree burns of his own after an attempt, as did another 15-year-old in Lexington, Kentucky the previous year.

Despite rumors to the contrary, however, there doesn’t appear to have been any deaths resulting from the challenge, at least not yet. One commonly cited account of a death, that of a 15-year-old named James Shores from Buffalo, NY, is in fact an item from the satirical site, The News Nerd.

Hopefully, this latest cautionary tale is warning enough for anyone who might want to try such a patently dangerous stunt.

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