Cale Hoffman Trauma SurvivorAround 6:30 p.m. on the evening of November 9, 2021 Cale was playing with his brothers at his mother’s home in Otwell, Indiana. As it was getting colder and colder, Cale and his brothers started making a fire. Upon deciding the fire could be a little bigger, Cale grabbed an old gas tank from an abandoned car that was on their property. “I don’t really know what I was thinking…half of me was like ‘It’s probably water,’ and half of me…wasn’t thinking. I poured it on the fire, it backflowed, and then exploded.”

In an instant, fire engulfed Cale’s body. His stepdad saw what was happening, jumped outside, threw him to the ground, and sprayed him down with the water hose. After evaluating the extent of his burn wounds, Cale was medically evacuated via helicopter to UofL Health.

What followed were several months of treatments for the severe burns that covered Cale’s body. His injuries were extensive, with him noting the fire covered, “pretty much everything from the bottom of my neck to my ankles.” The months he spent in recovery are a bit of a blur.

While in the Burn Unit, Cale underwent approximately 30 procedures between skin grafts and surgeries. “Pretty much my whole time at UofL I was like, ‘I want to die. I didn’t want to be here…painful. The worst pain ever.’” Not all of that pain was physical, however. Cale notes that much of the pain also came from the mental battles he experiences every day, being in a wheelchair. “I was active, and then I got stuck in my room. It’s still a fight every day, just to know that I can’t step outside whenever I want to.”Cale Hoffman Trauma Survivor

The UofL Health team wants Cale to be able to stand for a little bit and be able to take a few steps on his own. A potential discharge date of June 9th has been set, a date that Cale, “Looks forward to more than anything.” The return home however is a little intimidating; Cale’s mother no longer lives in the same house, so he’ll be going somewhere he’s never been. Cale will also need to adjust to the new life he finds himself in.

“I’m just thankful for my friends and family, because they’ve all been great. They try to come as much as they can, and try to make me as happy as they can."

Cale’s medical team has set a potential discharge date of June 9th, 2023. The team wants Cale to be able to stand for a bit and take a few steps on his own before releasing him for outpatient care.

Cale Hoffman.


Trauma Survivor.

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