UPDATE: Dalton teen recalls firework accident that took his hand
UPDATE: Alex Patino recently graduated from Christian Heritage School. He was an athlete, who depended on his hands as a receiver on the football field and a point guard on the court.
"I've always been happy playing sports, especially basketball," Patino told Channel 3.
Patino was playing with his friends on July 4 when his life changed forever.
"Fireworks can be dangerous, and the firework went off in my hand," said Patino.
The explosive blew off three fingers on his left hand. He was rushed to Erlanger where doctors had to amputate his hand.
"I was in shock. I just said I blew my hand off, my hand is blown off," recalled Patino.
Alex's mother, Mitasha Morris, met him at the hospital.
"Thank God he was alive," said Morris. "You can replace a limb but you can't replace a life."
Alex's friends started a Go Fund Me Page, raising more than $10,000 in one day. That number continues to climb. They're hoping it can cover medical expenses, but most importantly a prosthetic hand for Alex.
"Thank you to everyone who has donated and prayed over me, because it could have been worse," said Patino.
Patino and Morris hope others can learn from their family's horrible accident.
"It's not for kids, so leave it for the adults," urged Morris. "And it's really not for adults because it can happen to anybody."
PREVIOUS STORY: Friends have collected more than $11,000 in 24 hours to help a Dalton teenager who was injured in a fireworks accident.
According to the organizer of the Go Fund Me page, AJ Kent, the accident happened on July 4 when 18-year-old Alex Patino was shooting off fireworks with friends.
"Late last night a close friend of mine lost three of his fingers due to a firework explosion," wrote Kent, who attended high school with Patino. The two graduated from Christian Heritage School earlier this summer.
"(Alex) was rushed to Erlanger Hospital, and put into surgery. Unfortunately, with the severe damage from the firework explosion, he had to have his hand amputated. If you know Alex, you know his heart, his grit and most importantly his strength. He’s a fighter. I felt led to set this up, with faith that the community we live in will give more than the goal set. The money raised will go to cover medical expenses, prosthetics, physical therapy, and all things related to his recovery. Let’s continue to pray for Alex and his family. Love you all!"
Erlanger's Emergency Department staff treated eight patients, including Patino, on July 4 with injuries related to holiday activities. Two of those patients were treated at Children's Hospital at Erlanger. Most of the injuries were caused by fireworks and included burns and abrasions to hands and eyes.
Here's how those numbers compare to recent years.
2019 – Six adults and two children
2018 – Six adults and no children
2017 – Three adults and one child
2016 – 11 patients
2015 – 8 patients