Burned Teen Still in Bad Shape

Doctor: teen set ablaze at risk for more injuries

By Brian Hamacher
|  Wednesday, Oct 14, 2009  |  Updated 5:13 PM EDT
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"The Body Was not Meant to be Set on Fire"

NBCMiami.com

Michael Brewer

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"The Body Was not Meant to be Set on Fire"

A doctor explains the severity of the injuries to 15-year-old Michael Brewer, who was nearly burned alive by five other teens this week.
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The teen who was set on fire by a revenge-driven pack of other teens is heavily sedated and recovering at a Miami hospital, but is at a high risk for organ failure and infection, according to his doctor.

Michael Brewer is breathing with the aid of a ventilator at Jackson Memorial Hospital after suffering severe burns on nearly 75 percent of his body from the Monday attack.

Five teens have been arrested and charged in the horrific crime, accused of dousing the 15-year-old with rubbing alcohol and lighting him on fire as part of a revenge plot over a $40 debt.

Authorities say the conflict began when Brewer accepted a video game from 15-year-old Michael Bent, and didn't pay the $40 Bent was expecting in exchange. Bent tried to steal a custom bicycle that belonged to Brewer's dad, but was chased away from the Brewer home.

Bent along with four other teens, reportedly confronted Brewer at a Deerfield Beach apartment complex Monday after Brewer skipped school.

Brewer ran to a nearby pool to jump in to extinguish the flames, Broward Sheriff's investigators said. Brewer's physician, Dr. Nicholas Namias said most of his hair was burned off, though his face was not badly burned.

Namias said Brewer is not "out of the woods yet."

"Which is not to say things are great, they are not as bad as they could be," Namias said. "This is a life-changing event."

Bent, 15-year-old Denver Colorado Jarvis, his brother, 13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis, Steven Shelton and Jesus Mendez were all charged with aggravated battery in the attack. Mendez was charged with attempted second-degree murder because police said he started the fire.

Bent and the Jarvis brothers were in court yesterday and were ordered held in a juvenile detention center for 21 days. Shelton and Mendez appeared in court this morning and were also ordered held for 21 days, until prosecutors can determine whether to charge them as adults.

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