The Miami Burn Center
Saving Thousands of Lives
The UM/JM Burn Center located in the Ryder Trauma Center is one of the leading burn treatment facilities in the nation and the only such center in South Florida. In March 2008, after completing the rigorous process set forth by the American Burn Association (ABA) and American College of Surgeons, the UM/JM Burn Center received notice of successful verification by the ABA. This verification demonstrates a continued commitment to the treatment of patients suffering burn injuries and the allocation of resources necessary to ensure the best outcomes. As of today, there are only 3 ABA verified burn centers in the state of Florida.
Founded in the 1960s, the Burn Center now sees hundreds of patients each year. In addition to caring for the residents of Miami-Dade County, the UM/JM Burn Center accepts patients suffering burn injuries from many counties throughout Florida, as well as from the Caribbean and Latin America. This high number of referrals from areas outside of Miami-Dade is due to the specialized services provided and the experience necessary to treat severe burns.
The Burn Center provides a comprehensive team approach to the care of burn victims. The clinical team, including Burn/Trauma Surgeons, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Skilled Technicians, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, Social Workers, Registered Dietitians and Psychologists provide care throughout the duration of stay for each patient.
In our Trauma Resuscitation area, surgeons and nurses provide rapid evaluation and treatment. Treatment of burn patients depends on the extent, depth and type of burn. Injuries are assessed for the degree of burn, resuscitation is administered, temporary coverage is applied and special measures are implemented to reduce the risk of infection. Pain management is a challenge in any burn patient and the majority of the patients are placed on individual pain management regimens.
Patients are dispositioned from Trauma Resuscitation to the Burn Intensive Care Unit or the dedicated Medical-Surgical burn floor, depending on the severity of injury and level of monitoring required. Occupational and Physical Therapists provide rehabilitative services both at the bedside and in the Burn Center’s gym. Therapists guide exercises in weight training, muscle strengthening, resistance, endurance, range of motion and activities of daily living.
Psychologists assist with the emotional needs of patients and their families to provide support, encouragement and coping strategies. Recovery from a burn not only involves healing the patient, but addressing the changes and challenges faced by family members. Social workers serve as patient care coordinators for rehabilitation services, discharge needs, patient and family education and support at home.
The Burn Center’s outpatient clinic, held four days a week with all subspecialties available, has thousands of visits annually. It provides continuity of care and allows the burn team to monitor the patient’s progress on a regular basis.
A big focus of the UM/JM Burn Center staff is burn injury prevention. Through participation in outreach activities such as the Children’s Fire Safety Festival, the Juvenile Firesetter Program, health fairs and Corporate Safety Seminars, the staff’s aim is to raise awareness about the dangers of fire and help prevent burn injuries. The Children’s Fire Safety Festival has been held in the community for over 20 years in conjunction with Miami-Dade’s seven fire departments. An Advanced Burn Life Support course is held annually and is given to teach the skills required to care for a critically injured burn victim in the first 24 hours.
The William Lehman Injury Research Center
Studying Motor Vehicles and Other Types of Injuries
Reducing injuries from motor vehicle crashes and other types of accidents is the primary goal of the William Lehman Injury Research Center at the Ryder Trauma Center. Currently, researchers are studying the relationship between the types of injuries suffered by drivers and passengers in motor vehicle crashes and how cars and truck are built and driven.
Founded in 1991 and named for a retired U.S. congressman who was dedicated to improving highway safety, the Lehman Center is supported by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the automobile industry and private companies.
The center’s team is building a database using its own computer software to try to determine the linkages between injuries, the type of crash and the type of vehicle. For example, the research team examined CT scans of injured drivers and found that drivers who were strapped in by a shoulder belt but neglected to use lap belts were more vulnerable to liver injuries in a crash. Because a damaged liver can lead to fatal internal bleeding, that finding was rapidly conveyed to other trauma centers, and lives have been saved as a result.
Eventually, the data being collected at the Lehman Center may lead to better guidelines for what first providers and emergency room doctors nationwide should do when they examine a crash victim.