Recovery a Painful Fog for Severely Burned Florida Teen

Michael Brewer remains critical nearly a month after vicious attack by teens.

ByABC News
November 5, 2009, 3:24 PM

Nov. 6, 2009— -- Nearly a month after 15-year-old Michael Brewer was viciously set on fire in a Florida apartment complex, his life is a painful fog of surgery, infection and tears.

Brewer, still in critical condition, spends his days with his doting mother at his side, hovering between consciousness and sedation. He endures excruciating twice-daily dressing changes, his wounds covered in cadaver skin that doctors hope will allow his body to regenerate its own.

"He can respond to things, but he's very heavily sedated," Dr. Nicholas Namias, medical director of the University of Miami -- Jackson Memorial Burn Center, told "There's no period of him watching TV or having people talk to him and understanding."

Namias confirmed the Brewer had some rough days this week, but would not elaborate on exactly what the trouble had been.

Brewer's burns, suffered the night he was doused with rubbing alcohol and set ablaze, cover 65 percent of his body. The only saving grace, Namias said, is that his face and hands were mostly spared.

"The nurses have noticed he has cried," he said. "It's very hard to balance the amount of sedation and pain medication you give. Those things affect blood pressure."

Police say the high school student was attacked by five other teens, including one just 13 years old, after he reported one of the accused to the police for attempting to steal a bicycle as payment for a $40 video game.

According to police, Brewer was cornered near the apartment complex swimming pool when suspect Denver Jarvis, 15, splashed him with rubbing alcohol and Jesus Mendez, 15, used a lighter to set him on fire.

Brewer threw himself in the pool in attempt to douse the flames. His heartbreaking screams can be heard in the 911 call. "Help me!" he could be heard pleading. "Please! Please!"

Denver Jarvis and Mendez along with Steve Shelton, 15, Jeremy Jarvis, 13, and Matthew Bent, 15, were all charged with aggravated battery. Mendez, who police say flicked the lighter, was also charged with attempted second-degree murder.