Young Burn Patient on the Road to Recovery

Alex Dewey

For nine-year-old Alex Dewey, June 24, 2015, started out as any other fun day where he got to do one of his favorite things: ride the go-kart. But this particular day didn't end so happily. When the go-kart backfired as he was trying to start it, his clothes caught fire and he received burns on 65% of his body.

Lifeflight emergency services transported Alex to receive care, which resulted in 11 surgeries (so far) and a 70-day hospital stay in The University of Kansas Health System's Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center.

Alex's grandmother, Cynthia Matteson, praised the burn center for their expertise and compassion. "My heart goes out to them. They did a wonderful job, from the doctors to the nurses! And they weren't just concerned about Alex – they worried about all of us," says Matteson. "They were always doing something to care for him and to cheer him up."

After his accident, more than 3,000 cards and letters arrived at the hospital addressed to Alex, as a result of a social media effort to cheer him up. "It was amazing! There were cards from all over the U.S.!" says Matteson.

Following treatment for his extensive injuries from the accident and after hospital dismissal, Alex initially was home schooled. Shortly after Christmas, he was able to return back to school full time. He is able to participate in physical education class and enjoys the playground like any other normal fourth grade student.

Alex wears compression garments, including sleeves on both arms, a glove on his left hand and a shirt-and-pants combination, as part of his burn treatment protocols at all times to promote healing. He will continue to wear these for several months according to Matteson.

Matteson said that Alex will still have another laser treatment in the near future and other surgeries as he grows. The doctors have told her that Alex will likely be on blood pressure medication for the rest of his life and must wear sunscreen at all times when he's outside.

"He always has a smile on his face, despite his accident," says Matteson. "In fact, he doesn't really talk about it at all, by now. But, he says he is ready to get back on that go-kart!"

Explore more news, events and media