Improving the World, One Patient at a Time
North Carolina’s electrical cooperatives have long supported the NC Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Health Care in Chapel HillBy Bruce A. Cairns, M.D.
North Carolina’s electric cooperatives have long been vital partners in the development, growth and support of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Health Care in Chapel Hill.
Since the Burn Center first opened in 1981, North Carolina’s electric co-ops have helped ensure that it remains focused on providing the best, most supportive burn care possible, including aftercare and global burn care, while always thinking about the next big idea that might advance care and improve outcomes.
The Burn Center at UNC has grown from the singular vision of John Stackhouse, an electrical contractor in Goldsboro, to become one the largest, busiest and most innovative burn facilities in the world. In 2017 alone, the Burn Center admitted more than 1,700 patients. More than 400 were children.
It has become a recognized leader in all aspects of burn care, including prevention, treatment, research, reconstruction and rehabilitation, but one of the most important and unique services the Burn Center provides is aftercare.
“As a member of a North Carolina electric cooperative, you can be immensely proud of what your co-op and its colleagues have accomplished.”
Once a person suffers a burn injury of any kind and at any age, that individual — and his or her family — will deal with the consequences of that burn injury for the rest of their lives. The burn aftercare program at UNC provides comprehensive services for children, teens, couples and families. The Burn Center’s Camp Celebrate is the oldest pediatric burn survivor camp, and the center maintains one of the largest continuously running adult burn reunion programs in the country.
While focusing on patient care, the Burn Center has also been busy developing new treatments and therapies for burn scarring and smoke inhalation injury, two of the most common problems burn patients face. The Burn Center has a very active research team, and this group has published hundreds of papers as well as secured millions of dollars of research funds from the federal government and the industry.
Another major focus of the Burn Center has been the development of one of the most successful burn units in sub-Saharan Africa in Lilongwe, Malawi, in partnership with Kamazu Central Hospital. Over the 10 years of this partnership, this burn unit has treated countless numbers of patients, most of them children, with results nearly identical to those obtained in mid-income countries such as South Africa.
Over the years, electric co-ops have helped fund a new wound care inpatient unit at UNC, secured resources for a new family waiting room and up-to-date interactive playroom, supported education and training for nurses and doctors in Malawi, supported research programs at the Burn Center, and helped secure financial sustainability for the burn aftercare programs at UNC.
As a member of a North Carolina electric cooperative, you can be immensely proud of what your co-op and its colleagues have accomplished. Through hard work, prayers and financial support, those efforts have been changing and improving the world — one patient at a time.
About the AuthorBruce A. Cairns, M.D., is medical director of the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.
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