What is a Burn Center?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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A burn center is a specialized medical facility that deals with serious injuries due to burns. These centers are often part of larger medical organizations such as hospitals, and may be located in the same building. In addition to treating emergency patients, the staff of a burn center may also be involved in ongoing treatment for past burn victims as well as community education about burns. Burn centers often treat patients with injuries from flames or hot materials, but they may also treat patients with burns from electricity, chemicals, or radiation.

Burns can be complex injuries, requiring immediate specialized care. The type of care provided in an emergency situation depends on the type and severity of the burn. In addition to treating the site of the burn with appropriate medical procedures, circulation and breathing must also be maintained. Fluids are often given intravenously, as are pain medications. Patient survival can depend on quick and decisive action on the part of medical professionals.

Situations that cause large burns, such as fires, can also result in smoke inhalation and other complications. In many cases, patients have undergone serious and traumatic experiences, and will require psychiatric support during treatment. Many patients who are sent to a burn center require extensive treatment, including physical therapy and reconstructive surgery. A burn center is designed to treat all aspects of burn injuries, and usually employs a diverse team of specialists who work together to treat patients with complex problems.


Most hospitals can treat burns well themselves, but there are certain factors that make a burn complicated enough to warrant transfer to a burn center. Any burns to the hands, feet, genitalia, joints, or face may be considered complicated burns requiring special treatment. Patients who have pre-existing medical conditions or who are young or old usually need to be treated by a specialist. Also, burns that cover a large area of the body almost always need to be treated at a burn center due to the severity of the injury and the high potential for infection.

A burn center can also be involved in disseminating information around the community where it is located. Staff members may go to elementary schools and teach children about what to do when there is a fire and what to do if someone is badly burnt. They may also hand out literature about basic first aid for burns. A burn center can be an important part of a community, contributing to the safety and welfare of people living near it.


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