She woke up after the operation with a pressure bandage on her face. She was told that the damage had been too extensive and that they'd had to remove her eye.
The Kearnses reported the incident to the police, but the boys were never charged with a crime, she said. But, the Kearnses did collect a $1 million settlement from a civil suit, which she said they donated to Bascom Palmer.
Kearns underwent reconstructive surgery and now uses a hand-painted prosthetic eye made of dental plastic. "If you saw me, you wouldn't know I'm missing an eye, and then you'd wonder which eye it was," she said.
All told, Kearns said, she counts her blessings.
"I'm lucky to be alive, and I'm lucky only one eye was affected," she said. "I could have been totally blinded."
But she still misses her right eye.
"There's a part of me that still says, 'Why did this happen?'" Kearns said. "But I know why it happened. These kids were unsupervised, and these fireworks are dangerous things."
A companion article offers information on preventing injuries from fireworks.
SOURCE: Patricia Kearns, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
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