Quick Takes

UofL Hospital earns recognition for high standards of burn care

By: - June 6, 2023 3:42 pm

The stage was set for the announcement that UofL Hospital has been designated a verified burn center by the American Burn Association. (Kentucky Lantern photo by Sarah Ladd)

LOUISVILLE — Kentucky has its first verified burn center now that the American Burn Association has awarded  UofL Hospital the designation. 

Hospital officials and politicians were on hand to celebrate the announcement on Tuesday. They included Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg, who spoke to an audience of scrub clad-people and firefighters. 

UofL’s 39-year-old Burn Center has 16 beds and says it treated more than 250 patients last year. 

Not only is it the only one in Kentucky, it’s also the only one in a 100-mile radius, according to ABA’s Dr. William Hickerson. Being verified means that the center has met a set of criteria and is held to the highest standards of burn care, experts explained. 

The verification will expire in 2026. At that time, UofL will need to undergo a quality review to make sure the center still meets the highest burn care standards, Medical Director Dr. Glen Franklin told the Kentucky Lantern. 

“This recognition is not only a great validation of the work that happens here,” Greenberg said at the announcement. “But it’s giving us a great foundation to continue to build on.” 

The center’s medical director, Dr. Matthew Bozeman, said that burns are a leading cause of injury in Kentucky and across the nation. The most common burn, Franklin said, comes from flame when people have been in fires. But staff also see scalds from hot coffee or too-hot baths, smoke inhalation and, in the winter, frostbites. 

At least once a week, he said, he sees grease-related burns from things like people cooking deep-fried foods at home. 

The biggest complication that can come from burns, Franklin told the Lantern, is infection. 

“Your skin is your guardrail against all the germs in the outside world that are trying to get into you,” he explained. “And so when you lose the skin as a barrier, infection is the biggest complication that we see.” 

Other complications include loss of mobility, stiffness from grafts and loss of positive body image among those with visible scarring. 

“There’s a lot of psychosocial efforts that go along with our burn patients,” Franklin said. “There’s still healing to be done, even after wounds heal. You carry that burn in your story with you the rest of your life.”

UofL Health is now one of 56 ABA-verified burn centers in the United States, according to CEO Dr. Tom Miller.


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Sarah Ladd
Sarah Ladd

Sarah Ladd is a Louisville-based journalist from West Kentucky who's covered everything from crime to higher education. She spent nearly two years on the metro breaking news desk at The Courier Journal. In 2020, she started reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic and has covered health ever since. As the Kentucky Lantern's health reporter, she focuses on mental health, LGBTQ+ issues, children's welfare, COVID-19 and more.