During my trip I had the opportunity to tour the Grossman Burn Center in downtown Phoenix. Their mission is to restore patients to as close to their pre-injury condition as possible in a compassionate environment. The first thing I noticed was that it did not look like a hospital. A large tree, a one meter wide, and reaching the ceiling, decorated the lobby. Its leafy branches spread out overhead. Scenic walls decorated patients’ rooms, giving the feeling of relaxing in a beautiful forest, with pine trees , flowers and rolling hills all around.
Dr. A. Richard Grossman began the fist Grossman Burn Center 43 years ago with two beds at the Sherman Oaks Community Hospital, in California. Now there are five Grossman Burn Centers in three States. Amazing reconstructive surgery is performed in these centers, giving hope to survivors of terrible burn tragedies. For example, Zubaida Hasan was burned in Afghanistan at the age of nine, so badly that her face actually melted. Dr. Grossman performed over a dozen reconstructive procedures for her, and he his wife, Rebecca became her legal guardian. Her book, Tiny Dancertells the amazing story of her transformation. See more at www.grossmanburncenter.com
New Burn Treatments: Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment and Graphix Skin
I saw an hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) chamber, made of Plexiglas which allowed patients to see out and talk to people, while being monitored by doctors and nurses during their treatment. Studies show that this oxygen therapy can accelerate burn wound healing by increasing oxygen supply to the injured areas. This helps many patients avoid skin graft surgery.
I listened with amazement to their research into creating “living growing skin” that would grow just like real skin on a patient’s body. Nowadays skin from a patient’s own body is grafted onto burned areas. Hopefully one day this will become obsolete because these skin grafts don’t actually grow with the normal skin, causing patients to require multiple, and painful skin graft surgeries. I myself endured 8 surgeries after my accident thirty years ago, but I know a patient who has had over 80 surgeries! At the Burn Center, I saw a small dish of skin cells called graphix that cost $1200 to grow. The Chaya Malka Burn Foundation’s newsletter Burn Prevention Post has previously covered this promising technology and we will continue to monitor its progress.
CAREFUL, THAT’S HOT!
Finally, I learned that 70% of children’s admissions in the Grossman Burn Center are children ages 5 and under. The Centers’ research shows that 80% of burn injuries are PREVENTABLE! So they created a Home Safety Program, Careful, That’s Hot! This free burn prevention presentation is available in English or Spanish for parents, caregivers and babysitters of children under the age of 5. With simple tips to make homes safe and basic first aid for burns, it teaches about burn risks in the home and how to protect young children from the trauma of burn injuries. You can call (818) 907-2857 to schedule a presentation.