A Kennewick woman critically burned earlier this month in a boat fire near Richland is slowly improving after two surgeries at a Seattle hospital, family said.
Donna Smith, 43, has been at Harborview Medical Center since the boat she was on exploded into flames May 14 as it was on the water near the Richland Yacht Club.
Smith suffered second- and third-degree burns over her entire body and is expected to be in Seattle for at least a month -- possibly more.
"She is slowly progressing," her husband, Rick Smith, told the Herald. "She's been improving a little bit and they reduced her sedation so she can open her eyes on her own a little."
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The fire reportedly occurred after Donna Smith and her friend Mark Riggs had fueled the boat. Riggs was treated for leg burns and released the night of the fire.
Rick Smith and Donna Smith are going through a divorce but they share custody of their 10-year-old daughter, Jenni.
Jenni got to see her mother at the hospital last Friday before Donna's first surgery.
Rick Smith said it was a scary sight for Jenni to see her mother covered in bandages from head to toe. But, Jenni's doing OK because they've been keeping her busy.
"She's pretty resilient," Rick Smith said.
Donna Smith's first surgery was for skin grafts to her arms. She had a second surgery Wednesday to her legs and chest, he said.
Wednesday's surgery went well, but doctors discovered Donna has developed some pneumonia in one of her lungs, so her breathing tube will have to stay in for a couple more days, Rick Smith said.
Donna Smith is still listed in serious condition in the intensive care unit, a Harborview spokeswoman told the Herald on Friday.
A comedy fundraiser show is being planned at Jokers Comedy Club, 624 Wellsian Way, in Richland, to help raise money for medical expenses.
The show, featuring comedian Rick D'elia, is at 6:30 p.m. June 30. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online atjokersrichland.com.
Half of all ticket sales and all proceeds from a drawing of donated items available that night will go to benefit Donna Smith.
Donations also can be made to an account at HAPO credit union under the name of Donna Smith's business, Klamath Internet.
Rick Smith said the family already has received support from community members who have reached out to them and made donations to Donna's account.