John Harrison Doucet, 20, continues to defy odds as he recovers from severe burns over 75 percent of his body in an accident Sept. 18 outside the Gulfport Yacht Club.
Doucet has finally left the intensive care unit at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, and is learning to maneuver a wheelchair.
His family said nurses were in tears when he wheeled down the hall.
“He’s literally been on his death bed at least two times,” said Gulfport attorney Joe Sam Owen, who is working with a Florida law firm the Doucets hired to investigate what happened. “They didn’t know if he would make it through the next procedure. To say they were ecstatic about him being in a wheelchair is an understatement.
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“ . . . The kid’s a miracle, I’m telling you.”
Emergency responders did not think John Harrison would survive after a power line connected with a cable on his sailboat mast while he was parking after a family excursion. John Harrison’s hand was on the boat trailer when the electricity coursed through it.
Both his legs and right arm had to be amputated, although his face was spared. He is being treated at the nation’s largest burn center, where he has fought back from life-threatening infections and endured skin grafts.
“He’s been trying to stay pretty positive,” Owen said. “I think for the most part he’s in pretty good spirits. He well knows he has a difficult road in front of him.”
He said John Harrison expects to be transferred soon to a rehabilitation unit at JMS, where he will spend about a month. He could then return home for a short stay before he goes back to JMS for prosthetics.
The sailing community, friends, neighbors and businesses have rallied around John Harrison and his family, holding fundraisers, contributing to a GoFundMe account and praying for his recovery. A sunset cruise benefit is planned for March 11 aboard a Ship Island Excursions ferry.