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14th May 2024

Two-year-old with ‘0 per cent chance of survival’ after burning 98 per cent of his body is now inspiring others

Nina McLaughlin

He was left with 0 per cent chance of survival after a horrific ordeal at just two years old

A 16-year-old boy who was left with ‘0 per cent chance of survival’ after suffering 98 percent burns at just two years old is now inspiring others.

Owen Mahan was left with the life changing injuries after his biological mother submerged him in a bathtub full of scalding hot water. She waited two hours to seek medical attention.

He was given ‘0 per cent chance of survival’ from his injuries and was flown to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, which specialised in burn care.

Owen’s adoptive mother Susan Mahan explained to PEOPLE that she needed to make sure she could provide for him when he found himself in need of foster parents.

“He was burnt, he had sores all over him. He was just a mess,” the 62-year-old said.

“I loved him, but I needed to know that I could provide for him. All parents have to have food and clothing, the necessities, but for Owen, it’s a whole lot more than that. I needed to know that I could provide for him. And Shriners let me know they had that part covered.”

“My life forever changed,” she added.

Susan went on to explain how proud she is of her son’s positive spirit, particularly considering he has spent a large portion of his life in and out of hospital.

“He has every right to be mad at the world, but he has a smile on his face every single day,” she said.

“He got burnt when he was a baby, he was only two. So this is the only life he knows. But he has such a good outlook on life.” 

“He’s a prankster with his legs too, he even has a shirt that says $20 for a leg story,” she continued. “He says, ‘Mom, it is what it is.’ And he’s so good at trying to inspire other kids that are going through similar things that he is.”

Owen has undergone 47 surgeries at Shriner’s over the years, including amputation and multiple skin grafting procedures. The hospital will keep treating him until he turns 21 years old.

“We are not at the end of the rope. Our journey’s not over with Shriners. We used to have more surgeries than we do now, but he’s going to be 17 and we’re not done yet,” Susan explained.

“There’s still more surgeries in his future.”

Owen added: “Shriner’s is not just a hospital. They are my family. They gave me life. They helped me walk. They accept me for who I am.”