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Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is restoring its provincial burn program and establishing a new burn research centre.
May 23, 2023

Hamilton Health Sciences restoring burn program and establishing new burn research centre

HAMILTON, ON – Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) is restoring its provincial burn program and establishing a new burn research centre.

“HHS is committed to building a burn program of excellence,” says Dr. Marc Jeschke, a globally recognized burn surgeon and researcher, and medical director of HHS provincial burn unit. “This is the beginning of a new era for care in Hamilton and an opportunity to conduct state-of-the-art research and science to improve the lives of patients.”

In summer 2022, Dr. Jeschke moved his lab and team from Toronto to Hamilton to help rebuild the burn program at HHS. The regional burn program is located at HHS’ Hamilton General Hospital (HGH).

For the past two years, patients with critical burns typically cared for by HHS had to be treated at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. HHS and Sunnybrook operate Ontario’s only two provincially mandated hospital-based burn units and work collaboratively to ensure safe access for everyone who needs it province-wide.

“We’re very grateful for Sunnybrook’s support,” says Deb Bedini, VP, adult regional care at HHS. “Together, we will continue to rebuild this provincial resource so that patients don’t have to be transferred out of province or country for burn care.”

Presently, the program can support patients with burns to 40% of total body surface. The team is working toward being able to care for patients with full body burns this fall.

HGH is a lead trauma centre for a population of close to 3 million people, and the provincial burn program is an important component of trauma care. The burn unit provides expertise along the full continuum of burn care: initial resuscitation, intensive care, surgical care, outpatient care, and therapy.

Stabilization of the program is ongoing with the addition of several new key physicians and staff from various disciplines. Additionally, there is an assigned operating room specifically for burns, and specialized equipment such as laser for treating the after-effects of a burn long-term, and bad scars due to trauma and other causes.

“This will lead to vastly improved long-term outcomes and quality of life for patients,” says Dr. Jeschke. “Burn care has evolved and now we have as well.”

HHS is grateful to the Government of Ontario, Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, McMaster University and Juravinski Research Institute for supporting the burn program and burn research centre. The Hamilton Professional Firefighter’s Association has also supported the burn program over the years.

The burn program will continue to renew and modernize the care environment to meet internationally recognized best-practice standards for burn care, add operating room capacity for patients with burns, and build a comprehensive staffing plan to accommodate program growth.

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