Marking a new era in meeting a region’s trauma, surgical needs

Firefighter Jim Adams © UC Regents
With the opening of the Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center in UC Davis Medical Center’s Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion, firefighters like Jim Adams and others with burn injuries benefit from enhanced therapeutic resources.

On Jan. 1, 2010, Modesto firefighter Jim Adams was fighting a house blaze when the roof underneath his feet collapsed. He suffered third-degree burns over 48 percent of his body. In more than 50 days of treatment at UC Davis Regional Burn Center, he endured a medically induced coma and multiple surgeries to apply skin grafts. His treatment and recovery were ultimately successful.

“The doctors are some of the best in the world, treating my injuries not only with great skill and compassion but also with the latest medical procedures,” Adams says. “The nurses are on the top of their game; they have an extensive knowledge base and an exceptional skill set, and they administer care with such compassion.”

The exemplary care that Adams received is enhanced in the new Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center, which is part of UC Davis Health System’s Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion.

The result of more than eight years of planning and construction, the addition to UC Davis Medical Center continues the health system’s long tradition of providing advanced critical care to the region and enable its health-care professionals to meet the growing needs of a population it has served for more than 40 years.

Michael Chapman © UC Regents
The Emergency and Trauma Center at UC Davis is named for Michael Chapman, a leader in orthopaedic surgery.

“UC Davis is positioned — now and for decades to come — to continue providing highly sophisticated, compassionate care in the most medically advanced environment for the Sacramento region and beyond,” says Vincent Johnson, chief operating officer of UC Davis Medical Center. “The opening of the pavilion marks a new era in our ability to meet urgent trauma and surgical needs.”

Encompassing 472,000 square feet, the $425 million, four-story pavilion wraps around the eastern and southern sides of the medical center’s 14-story Davis Tower. The facility includes the Michael W. Chapman Emergency and Trauma Center, named for retired orthopaedic surgeon and professor emeritus Michael W. Chapman. The unit is two-thirds larger than the current emergency and trauma unit, making it one of the largest in Northern California.


  • Technology-enabled operating rooms that allow surgical teams to instantly retrieve images, research and other data they need during procedures and to collaborate with experts around the world in real time.
  • Mobile-device wiring within each emergency department treatment room to allow patient information to be gathered, entered and recorded into the digital health records immediately. This streamlined process can help reduce the possibility of errors and enhance patient safety.
  • Waiting and treatment rooms in the emergency department for pediatric patients and their families, separated from the adult facility.
  • A state-of-the-art cardiovascular care unit, featuring sophisticated imaging and diagnostic equipment to support minimally invasive procedures.
  • A robotic-equipped clinical pathology laboratory delivers more test results more quickly, so that health-care teams can more rapidly determine courses of treatment. The lab’s added capacity includes processing specimens for other care providers in the region, making UC Davis a valuable partner in improving health for all, even for those treated elsewhere.
  • The 12-bed burn center, provides recovering burn victims — like Adams — with enhanced therapeutic resources, such as infrared heating panels in each room to help regulate body temperature, and a hydrotherapy room. The center was supported by funding from the Firefighters Burn Institute, which has donated $1 million to the construction of the burn unit and is in the process of raising an additional $1 million.
  • A new entry drive and lobby, an outdoor patio just off the dining facility and artwork by acclaimed Sacramento artists — in recognition that an aesthetically pleasing environment is critical to enhancing a patient’s feeling of well-being.

Cover of 2010 Annual Report © UC Regents
"Marking a new era in meeting a region’s trauma, surgical needs" first appeared in the 2010 UC Davis Health System annual report. Click to read more.

The new facility opened to patients and visitors in the fall of 2010. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to mark the milestone. U.S. Congresswoman Doris Matsui was among the speakers at the event, which also featured comments by UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, health system Chief Executive Officer Claire Pomeroy and medical center Chief Executive Officer Ann Madden Rice.

“Our donors and staff have demonstrated a tremendous commitment to this project through contributions of time, money, planning, management and compassionate care to provide this invaluable resource to our community,” Rice says. A resource that was, indeed, invaluable to Adams and his family.

“I didn’t know if I would ever be able to go back to fighting fires,” he says. “But thanks to the doctors, nurses and staff of the UC Davis Burn Unit, returning to full duty will soon be a reality.”

Posted May 4, 2011