'Cracker victim 'brain dead'

'Cracker victim 'brain dead'

MANILA, Philippines - A boy is brain dead while his friend has lost his hands and an eye after the firecrackers they thought were duds suddenly blew up in their faces in Quezon City last week.

Talipapa police station commander Supt. Michael Macapagal said John Kenneth Deniega, 12, had been declared brain dead and not dead as earlier reported following the incident in Barangay Balumbato on Thursday afternoon.

Deniega's playmate, Mar Jayson Gotos, 11, lost his hands and left eye to the blast.

Macapagal quoted from a report by MCU Hospital in Caloocan City where the two boys are confined.

The two, both fifth graders at Balumbato Elementary School, were injured after the spent firecrackers they had gathered suddenly blew up in a vacant lot at the Dimaano compound around 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

According to Dr. Kris Nestor Urian of the MCU Hospital, Deniega sustained an "avulsed forehead and face, multiple abrasions and avulsion of upper extremities, chest and abdomen."

The number of fireworks-related injuries reached 962 cases as of yesterday morning, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

The latest figure is four per cent higher compared to the same period last year, Dr. Eric Tayag, health assistant secretary and National Epidemiology Center director, said on his Twitter account

Of the 962 cases, 943 were due to fireworks, two due to fireworks ingestion and 17 due to stray bullets.

Data from the DOH's Aksyon Paputok Injury Reduction registry showed that out of the 943 fireworks-related injuries, 359 or 38 per cent were due to the piccolo, an illegal scratch-banger type of firecracker.

Two hundred thirty-seven cases or 25 per cent involved children under 10 years old.

Majority (545 or 57 per cent) of the cases were from the National Capital Region, with Manila having the most number of cases at 213 (39 per cent).

Seven hundred ninety-seven victims sustained blast injuries, while 24 others had blast injuries necessitating amputation. One hundred thirty-eight victims sustained eye injuries.

In Bicol, cases of firecracker-related injuries reached a total of 99, most of them affecting children below 15 years old, as monitoring that started Dec. 21 drew to a close Sunday, health authorities said. With a report from Shiena M. Barrameda, Inquirer Southern Luzon

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