AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – A teenager from Firestone who was badly burned in Cambodia is now breathing on her own. On Tuesday, Abbey Alexander stood up and was able to drink and eat soft foods for the first time since she was caught in an explosion.


Abbey Alexander seen standing again following an explosion in Cambodia. (credit: Alexander family)

Her parents are grateful for her care at the UCHealth Burn Center in Aurora. Abbey’s parents, Erin and Aaron, were all smiles.

“It’s been a really good two days,” said Erin.

Erin and Aaron Alexander (credit: CBS)

They showed us photos of their daughter still wrapped in bandages over nearly 40% of her body, but standing up for the first time in nearly three weeks.

And on Sunday, the 18-year-old girl was finally able to breathe on her own.

Both are critical milestones in her recovery from the third degree burns she suffered when a gas station exploded as she was riding by in Cambodia.


(credit: Alexander family)

On Tuesday, the Alexanders took time to thank UCHealth critical care nurse Tamara Alferos. In a command center, called DocLine, Alferos took the first call about Abbey.

“You have a 3rd degree burn come in, you don’t have time to play phone tag,” explained Rob Leeret, Senior Director for UCHealth DocLine.

He calls DocLine, the “one call does it all” number for medical providers. It is the 24/7 war room for patient logistics, handling 900 calls a day and getting patients to UCHealth hospitals. UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital is a Level I trauma center and American Burn Association verified burn center.


(credit: CBS)

On Aug. 15, the call came from Cambodia about Abbey. Within hours, Dr. Patrick Duffy, a burn surgeon, read her case.

“She absolutely needed to come to us or to a major burn center as quickly as possible,” said Duffy.

Nine days and a 28 hour flight later Abbey arrived in Aurora.

“From the second we arrived until currently, they’ve been great,” said Aaron, Abbey’s father.


(credit: CBS)

Abbey can now drink and eat soft foods. Doctors predict she’ll be in the hospital for months. Her parents are optimistic and they are grateful that a call all the way from Cambodia got her this care in Colorado.

The bills to take care of Abbey in Cambodia and to transport her to the U.S. total around $230,000. Abbey doesn’t have insurance. The family has setup a GoFundMe to help with the cost.

LINK: Abbey’s GoFundMe