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Pediatric burn unit helps children recover

by Megan Fink
Public Relations
As the only pediatric burn unit in South Carolina, the pediatric burn team at MUSC Children’s Hospital is dedicated to providing excellent care for injured children.
The Pediatric Burn Center is a family-centered program run by a multidisciplinary team composed of pediatric surgeons specializing in burn care, pediatric intensive care physicians, pediatric emergency personnel, pediatric burn nurse specialists, physical and occupational therapists, child life specialists, nutritionists, social workers, clinical pharmacists, and psychiatrists. The Pediatric Burn Team is well equipped to address both the physical and psychosocial needs of burn-injured children and their families.
Amy Ferguson, pediatric burn team physical therapist, performs a dressing change on a patient in the center’s hydrotherapy room. The hydrotherapy room is used to wash the wounds of recuperating burn patients, which reduces the chance of infection.

The Pediatric Burn Center sees about 50 inpatients every year with 5 percent of these children needing critical-care treatment. The majority of the center’s patients, more than 400, are seen in  clinics or for outpatient surgery.
Key differences between a pediatric burn center and an adult center are the specialties of staff and treatment environment. The Pediatric Burn Center staff understands that children respond to stressors differently than adults. “Children often experience nightmares while in the hospital and may refuse to talk or eat,” said Betsy McMillan, Child Life specialist. “Children have better outcomes when provided with age-appropriate preparation for their procedures, therapeutic play oppor-tunities and emotional support.”   Physical and occupational therapy is often masked through sports or other fun activities, such as baking cookies and parades through the unit.
The special needs of burn injured children and their families are met with monies from the Burn Children’s Fund, a collaborative effort between MUSC Children’s Hospital and South Carolina Firefighters. The Burn Children’s Fund’s major fundraising endeavor is their recycling campaigns hosted at local fire stations, while their main sponsored event is Camp ‘Can’ Do, an annual camp for burn-injured children in South Carolina and neighboring states.
Most burn-related injuries in children are small, clean contact burns. Hot liquids are the most common of these contact burns, while injuries resulting from flames occur in children 10 years and older. “We often see more patients in the summer when there is less supervision at home,” said Jill Evans, R.N., pediatric burn services coordinator. “The home is actually the number one place for all burn injuries in both children and adults.”
In addition to more burns happening in the home, males are twice as likely to get burned as females. “Starting as early as age 10, boys take more risks,” Evans said. “And with South Carolina largely being a rural state, boys begin performing tasks and chores around their family’s property without either having the adult supervision or the experience or mature intuition.” Injuries can occur from tasks, such as running lawn mowers and burning trash.
For more information on initial burn wound care and the referral process to the Pediatric Burn Center at MUSC Children’s Hospital, contact Evans at or 792-3852.


Friday, Aug. 14, 2009

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