Frances Shea Breen quickly became the darling of the Nassau University Medical Center when she arrived with burns over almost half her body on Easter Sunday. Flames flared unexpectedly from a barbecue pit during a large family gathering in her Sea Cliff Avenue backyard. In a matter of minutes fire department volunteers and police officers swarmed the scene to wrap her in blankets and roll her to a waiting helicopter for a 15-minute ride to the hospital in East Meadow.
Medical staff at NUMC praised the courage of this 7-year-old girl from day one of a stay that lasted almost two months.
Dr. Peter Ciminera, head of the hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, said that her resilience and her will to battle the painful burns she endured made for a “miraculous recovery” that made headlines. She stole the attention of doctors, nurses and technicians when she visited the hospital’s hallways on Nov. 15 to thank everyone who had helped her.
Her parents, John Breen and Molly Deegan Breen, felt that included the ongoing prayers of worshipers from each of Sea Cliff’s six churches. Francy is named after her grandfather Frances Deegan, a former mayor of the village, and grandmother Nancy, the organ player of her church.