Archived Stories

Martaz's Story

Dec 27, 2020

Martaz Coleman is looking forward to starting auto technician school, but he was just months away from taking classes when a factory accident put his plans on hold.

“I was at work using a floor buffer when I ran over some liquid and the scrubber caught fire,” said Martaz. “The room and I went up in flames.”

One month later, Martaz woke up from a medically induced coma at DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital with third-degree burns on 83% of his body.

“The pain was incredible, and I couldn’t move anything,” said Martaz. “From October through January, I had 16 skin graft surgeries and was left barely able to move from a bed to a chair.”

Martaz was transferred to the DMC’s Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan (RIM), where therapists told him he could get back to doing all the things he did before his accident. With daily occupational and physical therapy, Martaz worked on stretching his skin and strengthening his legs and upper body.

“They didn’t baby me,” said Martaz. “My team made me get out of bed every day. I might not have felt like it, but I’m so glad I did because every day I saw progress. In the first week, I stood up. I never thought I would do that again.”

Martaz also loved how his therapists related to him.

"My outpatient therapist, Ryan, knew I liked video games and worked on some of the finger and hand motions to get me back to playing again,” said Martaz. “Every day after lunch he would work with me in the airplane splint.”

Today, Martaz is walking unassisted and doing outpatient therapy at RIM to stand up straight. He’s now able to wash and dress himself and play his video games.

“I’ve had more surgeries and have even more coming up, but I know that RIM will be there for me and that I’ll be back to my old self in no time,” said Martaz. “The therapists, medical people and everyone who works there are the best!”

The burn injury rehabilitation program at the DMC is a collaborative partnership between RIM and DMC Detroit Receiving Hospital, which is a verified burn center recognized by the American Burn Association for its advanced level of burn injury care. The program focuses on the physical, emotional, social and functional rehabilitation of patients who have suffered burns.