In an “average” year, HCMC’s Burn Center cares for about 25 patients with frostbite requiring hospitalization. In 2014, more than 200 patients were admitted for care.
“It was one of the coldest winters in the past 30 years, so it’s no surprise that we saw an increase in frostbite injuries,” explains burn surgeon and critical care specialist Dr. Ryan Fey. “Obviously, the key is to avoid exposure to extreme cold temperatures. That means staying indoors when it’s cold, and if you have to be outdoors for any length of time, making sure you dress appropriately to stay warm – even if it’s just a run to the mailbox or from your house to your car.” Continue reading “Nobody plans to get frostbite”→
The American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS) announced the re-verification of the Hennepin Burn Center as an Adult and Pediatric Burn Center.
Hennepin County Medical Center’s (HCMC) Burn Center is one of only 64 verified burn centers in the country and one of the few centers that manages both adult and pediatric burns. This verification provides a true mark of distinction and is an indicator to government, third-party payers, patients and their families, and accreditation organizations that the Center provides high quality patient care from the time of injury through rehabilitation.
“We’re delighted that our Burn Center is recognized as having all of the key elements of an outstanding program,” explains Dr. Anne Lambert, Medical Co-Director of HCMC’s Burn Center. “We always put our patients first, and that’s why they have great outcomes. It’s so rewarding to see them progress to their full potentials after an injury, and to receive the exact kind of multidisciplinary care they need.”
Burn Center Verification is a joint program of the American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS). To achieve verification, a burn center must meet the rigorous standards for organizational structure, personnel qualifications, facilities resources and medical care services set out in the in the ABA chapter on Guidelines for the Operation of Burn Centers in the ACS publication on Resources For Optimal Care Of The Injured Patient 2006. Elements of this voluntary program include completion of a pre-review questionnaire and an in-depth on-site review by members of the ABA Verification Committee, which took place at HCMC in May.
A written report by the site visit team is reviewed by the ABA Verification Committee and by the Committee on Trauma of the ACS. In the re-verification letter, the committee commended HCMC for its “commitment to excellence and its commitment to providing quality burn care to its patients.”
HCMC was also recently re-verified as a Level 1 Adult and Level 1 Pediatric Trauma Center. HCMC was the first hospital in Minnesota to achieve this status, and in 2014 it will mark its 25th year as a Level 1 Trauma Center.
The Burn Center at Hennepin County Medical Center is nationally recognized for its expertise in treating burn patients of all ages. Staffed by specially trained burn care nurses and physicians, the 18-bed inpatient unit and ambulatory care clinic provide comprehensive burn care to patients from throughout the Midwest.
We’ve waited for it all winter — and now summer is finally here! A long 4th of July holiday weekend with beautiful, sunny weather is expected. While we anticipate fun at the lake, picnics, and celebrations — injuries can stop fun in its tracks. Most injuries are entirely avoidable, so a little prevention goes a long way to help you keep you and your loved ones safe.
“Over the 4th of July, we often see injuries related to drinking too much alcohol,” explains Hennepin County Medical Center emergency physician Dr. James Miner. “But there’s also summertime trauma like motorcycle and car accidents, boating accidents, and fireworks injuries. Of course we see more fireworks injuries over the 4th of July holiday than any other time of the year, and these are usually eye injuries and burns.”
Some simple precautions surrounding the use of fireworks can help keep you out of the emergency department:
Always have a bucket of water or hose handy.
Never give fireworks to young children.
Light fireworks a safe distance from people and flammables.
Never try to relight a dud.
Never carry fireworks in your pockets.
Place used firework pieces in a metal container and douse with water.
These safety tips and more are available on HCMC’s Outdoor Safety web page at hcmc.org/outdoors. Have a safe, happy, fun 4th of July weekend!
Verified since 1989 as a Level I Trauma Center for adult and pediatric patients, Hennepin County Medical Center is a comprehensive academic medical center and public teaching hospital with the largest emergency department in the state. In addition to the 462-bed acute care hospital and primary care and specialty clinics located in downtown Minneapolis, Hennepin offers primary care clinics in Minneapolis and suburban Hennepin County.
Every year, the Burn Center at HCMC admits approximately 20-30 patients for treatment of frostbite.
Burn surgeons take care of injuries from extreme temperatures — both hot and cold. Dr. Anne Lambert answers some general questions about frostbite.
What causes frostbite?
“Depending on how quickly the person gets cold, there are ice crystals forming within and around their cells, not unlike putting a piece of meat in the freezer,” explains burn surgeon Dr. Anne Lambert. “With the ice crystals forming, it decreases the blood flow and literally at some point stops the blood flow to certain points of the extremities.”
What body parts are most vulnerable to frostbite?
“Just like everything else, our body tries to preserve the heat for its important parts, like the brain and other internal organs, so during cold temperatures, the blood vessels start to get smaller, decreasing blood flow to the distant parts of the body — like noses, ears, fingers and toes. While these areas are the most likely body parts to be affected by frostbite, we’ve had people come in with their entire arm or leg frozen as well.”
Thousands of Minnesotans are heading to the woods for the firearms deer hunting opener this weekend. While hunters watch for that elusive 18-point buck, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) wants to remind them to keep their sights on safety – and enjoy the great outdoors. Simple precautions and common sense go a long way in helping to avoid injuries.
“So many injuries occur over the deer hunting weekends,” explains HCMC Burn Center surgeon and avid deer hunter Dr. Ryan Fey. “Whether it’s a fall from a deer stand or a burn from a campfire, an injury can put you in the hospital – and put a quick end to the good memories. You’ll always remember the time you got hurt because of a preventable incident.”
“Accelerants poured on fires are a big problem, and cause a lot of the injuries we see,” explains Dr. George Peltier, reconstructive surgeon at HCMC’s Burn Center. “During damp conditions, or if people just want to get a large fire going, they will often use an accelerant. But gasoline can vaporize and explode, and the injuries can be absolutely devastating.”
Already this year, the Burn Center has seen a number of patients for burns related to using accelerants on fires.
On the most recent podcast of Healthy Matters Dr. David Hilden is joined by burn surgeons Dr. Peltier and Dr. Ryan Fey. They discuss some of the treatment options for burn patients, including surgery and skin grafting. The doctors also offer safety tips on how to avoid some common burn injuries.
Join Dr. David Hilden every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM for Healthy Matters on WCCO Radio AM 830 and WLTE FM 102.9!