Surgeons had to amputate John Harrison Doucet’s right arm above the elbow Monday, his parents told their Gulfport attorney, Joe Sam Owen.
The lifelong sailor, 20, was shocked by an overhead electrical line as he parked his sailboat Sept. 18 at the Gulfport Yacht Club after taking his mother and her sisters on an afternoon sail. He was gripping the boat’s trailer as a cable from the mast touched an overhead power line.
“The arm that they amputated, there had been a great deal of muscle damage and it was obviously a significant problem for him,” said Owen, whom the family notified by email. “The burns are third and fourth degree, which is very serious.”
Owen said muscle from John Harrison’s back also had to be removed because it was so severely damaged. His legs had been amputated after the accident, when he was flown to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Jackson.
Once stabilized, John Harrison was moved to the JMS Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia, the nation’s largest. His close Gulfport family has been by his side.
On Saturday, his parents, Tommy Doucet and Ruthie McMullen, announced they had hired Ocala, Florida, lawyers Abraham Banks and his partner, Jimmy Collins, to investigate the accident and represent John Harrison.
Banks brought Owen into the case Saturday, Owen said.
Mississippi Power has said it is investigating the accident and will have no further comment until its investigation is complete.
Thousands of Coast residents, and members of the sailing community across the country, have offered the family support.
The family updated those supporters Saturday on John Harrison’s critical but stable condition in an email sent to the Sun Herald:
The email said, in part: “We have been told by his doctors that John Harrison's mind, heart, and lungs are miraculously strong. John Harrison's handsome, beautiful face was also spared. The rest of his 20-year-old body has been severely damaged . . .
“ His kidneys have shut down as they try to process all the toxins from the tissue damage, but the doctors advise us that this is typical in this situation and they are doing their best to manage it.
“The doctors have a good plan to try and reconstruct the approximate 80% of his skin that was burned and destroyed. John Harrison has many years of recovery and painful rehabilitation ahead of him.”