Burned survivor of chopper crash improving at Harborview

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by Associated Press and KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on March 18, 2014 at 10:29 AM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 18 at 10:56 PM

SEATTLE -- The 38-year-old Seattle man who was injured on the ground when the KOMO-TV news helicopter crashed Tuesday morning is improving.

Harborview Medical Center reports Richard Newman has been upgraded from critical to serious condition.

Spokeswoman Susan Gregg says Newman has second- and third-degree burns on up to 20 percent of his body -- on his back and arms. He also has cuts on his head and a broken rib. He's sedated in the intensive care unit and will need surgeries for the burns, but not immediately.

The fire department had initially estimated that burns covered 50 percent of his body. His car was hit by the burning helicopter Tuesday morning near the Seattle Center.

Gregg says Harborview is well-equipped to treat the man as the Level 1 trauma center for four states.

"The good news is he's got less of his body burned, he's young, he's in a good place - he's at a Level 1 burn and trauma center for four states that does this and has the volume to do this and has really good outcomes," said Gregg.

Newman's family nembers from Bellingham as well as his husband are at the hospital.

Doctors says their focus is to clean his wounds, make sure he has enough fluids and they'll make a decision about surgery later.

Newman worked with Public Health - Seattle & King County. They released the following statement:

We were stunned to learn of the injuries sustained by our colleague Richard Newman from today's terrible helicopter crash. In his role with Public Health, Richard does exceptional work in helping to reduce the impact of HIV and STDs in our community. We're very proud to have him on our team. We send our thoughts and heartfelt wishes to Richard, his family and loved ones on his road to recovery, as well as our deepest condolences to the families of the others our community lost today, Bill Strothman and Gary Pfitzner.

 

KING 5's Elisa Hahn contributed to this report.

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