Burn center receives national recognition

The Regional Burn Center at Tampa General Hospital recently became the first burn center in the state to meet national standards for burn care by the American Burn Association.

USF launched the center in 1975 and has treated pediatric and adult patients in all stages of burn recovery since opening. The center is one of only four in Florida, and it is the only one out of the four that has received such recognition. It is also one of 40 centers that have been acknowledged nationwide for giving excellent care, said Dr. C. Wayne Cruse, medical director of the center and professor of surgery at USF.

“It’s recognition by our peers that we’re doing a good job,” Cruse said.

Although Cruse is the primary doctor for all patients of the 13-bed center, many other medical professionals assist in the evaluation of patients. The USF Physician’s Group provides most of the professionals, whose specialties range from psychology to surgery. Cruse said medical students from USF also assist in giving care.

“They all have a different area of expertise,” Cruse said. “The burn patients are the sickest patients in the hospital and they have many different medical problems.”

In fact, when a burn patient leaves, almost 50 people can be recognized for giving care to the patient, Cruse said. They usually include medical students, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, occupational therapists, pastors, pediatricians, physician’s assistants, physical therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and surgeons.

“This (honor) is in recognition of all of the caregivers, not just the doctors,” Cruse said.

The honor is bestowed upon centers that are verified after requesting a voluntary review by the ABA and the American College of Surgeons’ Verification Committee. According to the ABA, the committee examines the timeliness, appropriateness and effectiveness of care given by each center. The examination takes the form of continuous audits, periodic focused audits, specific case reviews and/or trend analysis focusing on factors such as length of hospital stays, mortality rates and adequacy of nutritional supplementation.

“Its important recognition so that the community can be comforted that we have an excellent burn center at TGH and USF,” Cruse said.