New burn center honors primary benefactors: firefighters
When UC Davis Medical Center’s burn unit moves into its new quarters in the Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion, its larger space and improved capabilities will be directly attributable to the organization in the unit’s new name: the Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center.
The Firefighters Burn Institute (FFBI) donated $1 million toward the construction of the burn center, and is working to raise a second million dollars. The FFBI is not only the largest donor to the Pavilion to date, it is the reason UC Davis Medical Center has a burn unit.
The FFBI was established 36 years ago in response to a jet crash at an ice cream parlor across from Sacramento Executive Airport that killed 22 people, including Sacramento firefighter Gene LaVine and eight members of his family. Sacramento Area Firefighters Local 522 formed the Firefighters Burn Institute (formerly the Firefighters Pacific Burn Institute) to raise money for the development of the UC Davis Regional Burn Center, which opened in 1974.
Hundreds of firefighters from throughout Northern California have been fundraising on behalf of UC Davis for many years, and will continue to do so. In addition to donating money for the construction of the burn centers, the FFBI also picks up the expenses for the burn center’s faculty physicians and other staff to attend conferences to receive specialized training.
“It’s difficult to adequately express our gratitude to the Firefighters Burn Institute for all of the support they’ve provided to us over these many years,” said David Greenhalgh, professor and chief of burn surgery at UC Davis Medical Center. “Firefighters and the physicians, nurses and therapists in the burn center share a common bond.
"We know how difficult it is for patients to heal from severe burn injuries, both physically and psychologically. And firefighters are literally the first ones to see these wounds, as they respond to fires and bring victims to our hospital.”
Largest in Northern California
The new burn center will allow UC Davis to consolidate all of its burn centers into a single location about three times the size of the existing unit, with additional rooms and beds to accommodate more patients.
The Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center is the largest burn treatment center in Northern California. It treats about 300 inpatients and 1,000 outpatients a year at the center and burn outpatient clinics.
The new burn center will allow UC Davis to consolidate all of its burn centers into a single location encompassing 12,653 square feet, about three times the size of the existing burn unit. It will have an increase in rooms from eight to 12. The additional beds will allow the new facility to accommodate more patients and, perhaps more importantly, each of the beds will be in separate rooms. In the current burn unit, there are just six such rooms, with a seventh area containing two beds.
The new burn center will allow UC Davis to consolidate all of its burn centers into a single location encompassing 12,653 square feet, about three times the size of the existing burn unit.
Specialized equipment promotes healing
Because infection is what kills most burn patients, having separate rooms will amount to fewer transfers of infections from one patient to another. The rooms also will be more spacious, making it easier to move around and accommodate in-room storage for linen and other items currently kept on carts in hallways. Special infrared heaters installed in the ceiling will allow rooms to heat up more quickly, which is important for burn patients because it’s difficult for them to stay warm due to loss of skin.
"It’s difficult to adequately express our gratitude to the Firefighters Burn Institute for all of the support they’ve provided to us over these many years."
—David Greenhalgh, chief of burn surgery
Unlike the rooms in the existing burn unit, those in the new one all have windows. The lack of a window to look outside can have a negative effect on patients, who generally must be hospitalized for several weeks due to the lengthy time it takes to recover from serious burns.
Firefighters contributed $50,000 for another feature of the new burn center: a state-of-the art hydrotherapy room that will help reduce the pain associated with this aspect of wound care. In recognition of the firefighters' donation for the tub, the facility where it will be located is called the Sacramento Area Firefighters Burn Center Committee Hydrotherapy Room.