Riley Burn Patient Forges On

Elena Marcum 400x250
Riley kid Elena Marcum

It’s been a year-and-a-half since the life-changing night of February 21, 2020. 17-year-old Elena Marcum survived a monumental series of medical procedures to treat the burns that covered 85% of her body. An explosion involving a campfire and gasoline in the backyard of her home near Connersville, Indiana started the blur of emergency room treatment, months of hospital stays, skin grafting, IV fluids, antibiotics, rehab and therapy. She has come a very long way since then.

“It’s not normal for someone to heal quite this well,” says her mother, Amanda Crawford. An amazing outcome considering only Elena’s scalp, feet and backside were spared of third-degree burns.

Elena was transported by Lifeline helicopter to Riley Hospital for Children, where she began her long hospital stay as Covid-19 visitation restrictions were put in place. Riley social worker Carly Brandon stepped in to arrange a schedule of parental visits. In addition, there were the demands of paperwork connected to Elena’s treatment and return to normalcy. Elena’s mother says she would not have been able to navigate the maze of forms in resuming her daughter’s high school education. “It was very difficult to get through,” says Amanda. “Carly made it easy, saying not to worry. She took care of it."

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The costs of the social work program are not covered by insurance. Donations to Riley Children’s Foundation cover the expense. Amanda Crawford says she cannot overstate the importance of the social work program’s role in helping her daughter and family members move forward.

“Just having someone to talk to is so important,” says Amanda. “Nobody understands how important adult conversation really is when you are in that situation. I don’t know what we would have done without her. Carly just took care of so much.”

Elena turned 19 in August of this year. Doctors praise her strength and determination in making a remarkable recovery.  She has graduated high school and now looks forward to obtaining her driver’s license. Her family looks forward to normalcy. “That's a huge deal,” says Amanda. “People don't understand just how important normalcy is.”

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The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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