Baton Rouge General’s Regional Burn Center celebrated the completion of a major expansion and renovation with a ribbon cutting on July 15. The only verified burn center in the region and the first in the state, BRG’s Regional Burn Center treats more than 4,000 patients from all over the Gulf Coast each year. Renovation work continued despite the pandemic in 2020, a year that also marked the Regional Burn Center’s 50th anniversary.
BRG’s new Regional Burn Center features state-of-the-art inpatient suites and more beds, a rooftop therapy garden offering burn survivors a safe and comfortable way to ease back into the world around them, and a pediatric playroom. In addition, a newly renovated outpatient rehab gym and treatment center gives burn patients the space they need to continue their recovery after discharge.
“Burn care is incredibly complex, beginning at the time of injury and lasting through treatment, recovery and ongoing survivorship, like support groups and our summer camp for pediatric burn survivors,” said Tracee Short, MD, burn surgeon and medical director of BRG’s Regional Burn Center. “While the majority of our patients are adults, about 800 children are burned and treated at BRG each year. And some of them are in the hospital a long time – 45 days is not unheard of.”
As a verified burn center, BRG is a leader in burn care and clinical research. The Regional Burn Center was one of 10 centers nationwide to participate in a trial study of StrataGraft, a sheet of living skin designed to replace a patient’s skin if injured. The regenerative skin tissue changes the way burns are managed, while also minimizing the pain and recovery for burn patients. BRG was also the site of an expanded access study of StrataGraft, using the skin tissue on deeper wounds.
BRG was also one of two sites nationwide participating in a clinical trial of a gel-based dressing that helps remove dead tissue, and was one of the first in the country to evaluate Kerecis, a fish-skin product that heals human tissue damage such as burn wounds.
As Baton Rouge was emerging as an industrial hub, so was the need for specialized burn care, and on July 14, 1970, the Regional Burn Center opened its doors, only the 14th in the country to do so. Since then, its team has cared for pediatric and adult burn patients, treating nearly 90 percent of all burns in the Baton Rouge region each year as well as patients from almost 200 zip codes between Florida and Texas. As the Region 2 designated HazMat response hospital, BRG’s Regional Burn Center is critical to Louisiana’s petrochemical, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries, which currently employ nearly 300,000 workers across the state.
In 2015, the Regional Burn Center first earned the designation as Louisiana’s only verified burn center. Verification is a rigorous process, demonstrating that BRG provides the highest quality care of burns from time of injury through rehabilitation.