For anyone who experiences a severe burn – one that requires more than just cooling the injury under running water – the initial pain is only part of the story.
Even after the worst of the discomfort subsides, questions remain as to how treatment should proceed in order to speed up the healing process, eliminate complications, reduce scarring and ensure the most complete recovery. That’s why so-called “full-spectrum care” at a nationally recognized treatment center can be so critical to a burn patient.
Important advances in technology and research are happening all the time inside the Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. In addition, the Center utilizes a whole-patient approach that draws on the expertise of critical care surgeons, plastic surgeons, certified nutritionists, psychologists, pediatricians, physical therapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists and specialized nurses.
“Because we’re a team, we can work with the patient not just in their initial treatment but across the process of healing,” says Mary Lou Patton, M.D., the Crozer Burn Center’s co-medical director. “We can evaluate scars or issues such as PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and help find appropriate solutions.”
The Center, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2013, has always been ahead of its time. “We began in 1973 before the days of trauma centers,” explains co-medical director Linwood Haith Jr., M.D., who joined the Center in 1981.“The administration of the health system was quite farsighted to see that a resource like this was very much needed.”
Today, Crozer operates the only burn facility in suburban Philadelphia that provides such comprehensive services for burn patients and their families – from emergency treatment and intensive care to rehabilitation, follow-up and outpatient care – all within a single unit.
As burn treatment continues to evolve, the Center’s team is constantly driving care forward with research in areas such as soft tissue infections and medication, and has been on the leading edge of adopting breakthrough treatment techniques such as precise fluid resuscitation and using stem cells for cultured epidermal replacement. Plus, a new telemedicine program allows physicians at the Center to communicate with distant hospitals and diagnose patients, determining whether or not transport to the Center is necessary.
Of course, high-tech treatments are just one facet of quality care: There’s also the ever-important “personal touch” that can make any recovery process more bearable.
“The staff at Crozer made us feel comfortable right away,” says Linette Foreman, whose 9-year-old son, Nathan, was treated at the Center in 2009 after a campfire accident left him with third-degree burns to his chest and underarms. “In an emotional situation like that, it made all the difference to know our child was in good hands. We trusted them 100 percent.”
Today, Nathan is a healthy, thriving teenager who plays sports and leads an active, normal life – just what Dr. Patton loves to hear.
“I went into this area of medicine because I wanted to really work with patients and collaborate on a team,” she says. “When you can get a patient back out into the community, back to their lives, it makes you very proud to be a spoke in the wheel.”
IF YOU’VE BEEN BURNED OR SCALDED:
The Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center
Recognized as a national leader in burn care, the Crozer Burn Center has been verified by the American Burn Association and the American College of Surgeons, is a center of excellence for both pediatric and adult burn patients and was the first in the region to provide this standard of care for patients of all ages.
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