Kerry Thomas is expected to spend up to four hours in surgery Monday at a burn center in Salt Lake City.
Doctors are planning to graft skin to repair damage to Thomas’ right side. She was burned from her shoulder down to her foot while brewing Obligatory Double IPA at Boise’s Edge Brewing, where she works as the head brewer. The accident occurred after she added hops to the boiling mixture and it bubbled out of the kettle.
Her medical team at the University of Utah Burn Center had to remove a feeding tube Thursday after Thomas began feeling nauseous. She also hurt from places where her skin was burned and nerve endings were exposed, said her husband, Cory Thomas. Nurses change the dressings twice a day and scrub her skin in a process that takes an hour each time.
She was listed Friday afternoon in serious but stable condition, a hospital spokeswoman said. She had been listed in good condition earlier in the week.
Kerry, who suffered second- and third-degree burns to 30 percent of her body, has kept her spirits up. That has helped other members of her family cope with the situation, Cory said.
“Every time I talk with her, you’d never know there was something going on with her,” Cory Thomas said. “She’s very quick-witted and intelligent and she keeps the doctors and nurses on their toes and keeps them laughing.”
She showed her sense of humor earlier this week when she posted a short message on her Facebook page.
“Typing on my phone is incredibly difficult with bandages on my hands, but I wanted to tell everyone a HUGE THANK YOU for all the warm wishes, thoughts and prayers!” she wrote. “I love you all so much and appreciate everything you’re doing and have done.”
Kerry Thomas, also known by her maiden name of Caldwell, previously worked at TableRock Brewpub. She was hired as the head brewmaster when Edge opened in February 2014 and has won many craft beer awards for her brews.
A GoFundMe page — with a goal of $100,000 — was established earlier this week to raise money for Thomas and her family. It’s meant to cover costs beyond what Edge Brewing’s workers’ compensation insurance will pay and what her health insurance will cover.
A total of $21,664 had been raised by Monday morning (July 20), with 417 contributors. Donations have come from people as far away as Guatemala and Germany, Cory Thomas said.
“That’s pretty impressive and it’s humbling,” he said.
Team Mazda Subaru in Caldwell, where Cory Thomas works as the finance manager, is going to donate $25 for every car the dealership sells through the end of the month.
Cory Thomas said he and his family are grateful not only for the donations but the cards, online messages and phone calls he’s received from people expressing best wishes.
“I appreciate the support and the outpouring from the community,” Cory Thomas said. “It’s a testament to the community we have in the Boise area.”
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is looking into the accident. An inspector interviewed workers and took video of the brewery.
The brewery’s president, Marcus Bezuhly, has stepped in as brewer while Thomas recovers.