Anybody whose ever been scalded in a kitchen accident knows the searing pain of a burn. Imagine the agony of being rushed to the Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center with 80 percent of your skin destroyed by fire. That’s what happened to Joe Adamson after an industrial explosion incinerated most of his skin surface. Only at an accredited, internationally known burn center like this one, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, could Adamson, who was given a one percent chance of survival, have returned to a normal life. Pioneering treatment — Speare was the first to graft patients with cloned cultured skin tissue — plus a team approach by physicians, surgeons, occupational and physical therapists, nutritionists and psychologists help this 35-year-old center attract some 300 patients a year and maintain the lead in research and education (1 Medical Center Boulevard, Upland, 610-447-2800, crozerburn.crozer.org).
Because the Burn Center at St. Christopher’s Hospital is the only dedicated pediatric burn center between Washington, D.C., and Boston, young patients are often flown here by helicopter directly from the scene of a fire. Some arrive later, when wounds from burns just won’t heal — like 15-year-old Michal Wyszynski, who was pinned under the exhaust pipe of his dirt bike when it flipped over. The antibiotic cream used by his pediatrician wasn’t working, so he was brought to St. Chris, where surgeons excised the burned tissue and grafted new skin from his thigh to heal the site. Later he received physical therapy and a pressure garment to wear to prevent scarring. Such total medical, social and rehabilitative service at St. Chris restores young burn patients in age-appropriate surroundings (East Erie Avenue and North Front Street, 215-427-5323, christophershospital.com).
From firecrackers to frostbite, from a kid playing with matches to severe burns from a car crash, Temple Burn Center has seen just about everything. The center was moved here from St. Agnes Hospital in 1999 by burn specialists William Hughes and Daniel Hensell. It’s the only one in the Delaware Valley located at a Level 1 Trauma Center, meaning emergency cases can be flown by helicopter round the clock to a seven-bed intensive care burn unit. It treats 300 inpatients and 2,300 outpatients a year with everything from skin grafts to rehab to psychological counseling, and presents community lectures and seminars on fire prevention and burn care (Parkinson Pavilion, second floor, 3401 North Broad Street, 215-707-BURN, tuh.templehealth.org/burn.htm).