Patient Stories

Katharine Koonce – Overcoming Tragedy: Stories of Grace and Confidence

Shriners Hospital for Children Patient: Katharine Koonce

Story Summary

In 2008, the Koonce family sought refuge from Hurricane Ike at the restaurant in Houston where Katharine’s father, James, worked.

Suddenly, while 4-and-a-half-year-old Katharine slept, a fire broke out that quickly engulfed her room in smoke and flames. Katharine’s father dove into the room and emerged with Katharine in his arms.

Both father and daughter sustained serious burns. Fifty percent of James’ body had been burned and Katharine had burns covering 70 percent of her body. The two were airlifted to a hospital in San Antonio for emergency care.

Once stable, Katherine was taken to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California, via a Medevac flight. After three long months of treatment there, Katharine returned to Texas and continued her rehabilitation at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Houston, and later, at the Shriners Hospital in Galveston.

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