What You Should Know About Burn Care

SandovalSteven Sandoval, MD
Assistant Professor, Surgery
Medical Director, Burn Center

The Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center at Stony Brook University Hospital is the only designated burn care facility for the more than 1.5 million Suffolk County residents. The center coordinates burn services throughout the region, and conducts training and research in burn care. Given February 6-12 is National Burn Awareness Week, our burn specialist, Dr. Steven Sandoval, is sharing important information about burn care and our Burn Center.

What is a designated burn center?
Certain hospitals have been designated by the New York State Department of Health as burn centers, meaning they are especially well equipped in terms of expertise and technology to deal with patients who have major burns. At our Burn Center, patients of all ages receive care provided by a highly specialized multidisciplinary team, including surgical critical care physicians and nurses, respiratory therapists to plastic surgeons, physical therapists and occupational therapists. We use sophisticated equipment designed to ease patient’s pain, fend off complications and promote healing. In addition, our team focuses on getting patients active and mobile as soon as possible. This helps delay some of the negative longer-term consequences of burns and burn injuries.

How does Stony Brook’s Burn Center provide burn care? 
The key to managing any type of burn, especially the more severe kind, is to get appropriate treatment as quickly as possible. That means not only going to a facility with advanced expertise, protocols and equipment, but also one that has these capabilities 24/7. Our Burn Center has long been the go-to facility in Suffolk County. It also serves as a resource to neighboring community-based hospitals. In addition to initial assessment and ongoing intensive and surgical care, our team provides the physical and emotional supports that are an important part of the total rehabilitation of burn patients. Severe burn scars can be crippling, and we are the first in Suffolk County to use SCAAR FX laser technology to treat them.

Is the Burn Center designed for burn patients?
Yes, our Burn Center is designed for optimizing the care of patients with burns, from its treatment rooms to its private patient rooms, which can accommodate overnight visitors who wish to stay with their loved ones.

What partnership does the Burn Center have with firefighters? 
The center was named the Suffolk County Volunteer Firefighters Burn Center in 2013 in honor of the county’s firefighters who have made it their mission since the 1980s to support our center and patients in every way. These dedicated firefighters have raised funds to purchase important equipment we use, provide a peer support group for patients and their families, and defray the cost of research initiatives to advance burn care, among other support. Early on they funded our Living Skin Bank which provides unique wound dressings that benefit our patients.

What are good burn awareness education resources? 
The American Burn Association is the first that comes to mind. Its website (ameriburn.org) offers good information about burns and burn care, including prevention strategies. 
We also have tips for parents online (stonybrookchildrens.org/news/protect-your-child-from-burns) and a free How to Protect Your Child From Burns booklet. Children, especially those under five years of age, have an increased risk for burn injuries. Burn safety is an important topic that I encourage parents to be become knowledgeable about.

Watch a video with our burn experts discussing different types of burns, how to avoid them, how to care for them, and more. stonybrookmedicine.edu/burn-care