Southwest Louisiana's only burn unit opens

By Britney Glaser - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -More than two million burn injuries are reported each year in the United States and in many cases, treatment at a specialized burn care center is hours away.  Now, Southwest Louisiana welcomes its first and only specialized burn center.

At Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, a six-bed intensive care unit for both adult and pediatric burn patients becomes the only center of its kind on the I-10 corridor between Houston and Baton Rouge.  Chief Nurse Officer Michelle Crain says, "The problem has been that our patients were having to go as far north as Shreveport or as far west as Galveston to receive care and that creates a hardship on our families."

Crain has been working alongside Grossman Burn Centers Medical Director, Dr. Peter Grossman to get this state-of-the-art burn unit off the ground and operable for patients.  "Our goal is to take care of the patients from the time they get burned throughout their entire hospitalization and then following up on them," says Dr. Grossman, "making sure that they can heal to their fullest ability."

This is a task that will be under the direction of Dr. Grossman, who's actually based out of the Grossman Burn Centers in Southern California. It was recognizing the need for a burn unit along the Gulf Coast that led him to Lafayette.  "We're all susceptible to burn injuries," he says, "but there are very few places across the country that actually specialize in the care of a burn injured patient."

Here, this specially-trained staff will treat heat, electrical, chemical and radiation burns. Crain says if immediate treatment is not sought by the burn victim, permanent health problems can develop.  "It can lead to more severe scarring and that scarring can limit the mobility of that area, it can cause problems in that area - so that you lose a lot of movement, sensation and of course the cosmetic aspect of it," says Crain.

The outpatient burn clinic saw its first patient through the ER within the first 90 minutes of opening its doors and on the official opening day this week, it's already at half of its capacity, representing a void that will now be filled at home.

On site, the burn center will be overseen by Dr. Stephen Delatte, a board certified plastic surgeon specially trained in care of the burn patient. Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center is located on St. Landry Street in Lafayette.

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