INDIANAPOLIS — It was a major moment for a burn survivor in a treatment room in the Burn ICU at Ascension St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital. Survivor Chris Doyen proposed to his long-time girlfriend there Friday.
Chris barely finished the question before Erika Tollett embraced him and said, “Yes of course.” She’s been at Chris’ bedside every day for 47 days as Doyen recovered from a life-threatening burn from a campfire.
In April the two were standing near a campfire in Newcastle when a gas can nearby exploded. Chris received second and third-degree burns to 66% of his body including his arms, torso and legs. His recovery was anticipated to take around four months but Chris says he credits the burn unit and his own motivation to his quick recovery.
“The staff. Yeah they pushed me pretty hard. And I don’t want to be here, so I want to be back home,” said Chris Doyen, from New Castle.
“For him to go from his injury to leaving the hospital in under 50 days is quite remarkable. He’s done a great job of following the program and getting healed up and our team has done a remarkable job getting him back and healthy and actually discharging him from the hospital today,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gibbs, Director of the Ascension St. Vincent Burn Unit.
The proposal took some creativity. Chris is still healing and kneeling is difficult for him. The Burn ICU staff created and decorated a special padded stool for him to kneel on in order to propose. The proposal happened in the hydrotherapy room which is a space for medics to use running water to cleanse wounds, provide treatments and accelerate healing for patients.
The Ascension St. Vincent Burn Unit treats both pediatric and adult patients as part of their Level 1 Trauma Center. Patients stay on-site for procedures and are treated by staff.
Chris Doyel was discharged from the hospital Friday and is finishing recovery at home with his new fiance.