Aaron Hern, the 11-year-old Martinez boy injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, took a "huge step forward" in his recovery Thursday and may be removed from the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Boston as soon as Friday, according to an update from his mother.
Katherine Hern reported in a Facebook message sent to a family friend that her son is "almost completely 'unhooked' from most of the medical tubes and that his neck brace has been removed.
"Huge step forward," Katherine Hern wrote. "He may be out of the ICU as early as (Friday). Physical therapy folks came in and started talking about what we have to do there."
How long Aaron will remain in the hospital remains unknown, according to his mom, but she noted that it "sounds shorter than longer!"
The bombs exploded Monday as Aaron and a group of family and friends waited near the finish line to cheer on Aaron's mother, Katherine, as she finished the race. Aaron was with his father, Alan, his sister, Abby, 10, and family friends Sandra and Frank Hall.
Sandra Hall, who is still with the family, said Wednesday that Aaron's second surgery was completed shortly after 6 p.m. in Boston and that he was beginning to talk after his breathing tube was removed. Aaron also underwent surgery Monday after the blast.
The breathing tube was removed a few hours after the second surgery.
Doctors will continue to monitor Aaron for infections, Katherine said in an update Wednesday; they are concerned about proper blood flow in repaired muscle tissue.
The lingering fever that had family worried had decreased enough for doctors to go through with the surgery and had greatly reduced by the time the surgery was completed, Hall said.
"His whole leg was hit and the doctors said that the fever was probably caused by all these small abrasions from the tiny shards of shrapnel," Hall said.
Doctors were also successful in completely closing his wound; as a result, Aaron will not need skin grafts to heal.
It's unknown yet if Aaron and his family will be back in California in time to celebrate his 12th birthday on May 1.
Check back for updates. Contact Rick Hurd at 925-945-4789 and follow him at Twitter.com/3rdERH.