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Friday, September 30, 2022

Inside the final days of Mississippi’s only burn center – Brospar Daily News

Brandon’s Aiden Robinson might look very different today if it wasn’t for the care he received at the Jackson JMS Burn and Reconstruction Center in 2019.

When 9-year-old Aiden was cooking at home with his father, he accidentally poured a pot of boiling water on himself, burning more than 80% of his body.

“For best results, burn patients need to see a doctor as soon as possible. Not all doctors or emergency room staff know how to treat the skin of burn patients, so my concern is, what will happen to these patients now?” Aiden’s mother Chris Tel Robinson said.

Crystal was referring to the closure of the burn center that cared for her son three years ago. Merit Health Central, where the program is located, Announced in early September The program will end in October. It is the only accredited burn program in the state.

In 2021, the center saw nearly 2,000 admissions and 7,261 clinical visits. The total number of surgical cases was 2,776.

In 2019, Aiden lay in bed at the JMS Burn and Reconstruction Centre after a cooking accident at his home.

Now, several employees at the Merit Health burn center, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from their current or future employers, say they are scrambling to find new homes for the program. They said they were notified for more than a month that the program would be shutting down, and that moving the program to one of eight other Merit Health locations in the state was not of interest to Merit Health or its parent company, Community Health Systems. matter.

“We were told on Sept. 7 that we had to leave by Oct. 14,” an employee told Mississippi Today. “With over 600 patients a month, shock is an understatement. We care deeply about our patients.”

Another employee was also caught off guard.

Another employee said of the hospital’s decision: “For something like this that matters to the community — (it was), we’re going to stick with it and be aggressive.”

Hospital officials did not answer Mississippi TODAY’s questions about the story.

In a September statement announcing the closure, hospital officials cited the pandemic and recruiting challenges.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and a challenging staffing and recruiting environment have made it increasingly difficult for us to recruit the broad range of specialists we need to maintain our burn program, which was a major reason for our difficult decision to close our burn center October 14, 2022 effective today,” the statement said.

While employees were shocked by the news, leaders were in conversations with hospitals about opening burn centers elsewhere, and they hoped things would move quickly.

However, after October 14, patients will be transferred to one of the regional burn centers in Augusta, Georgia, Memphis, Tennessee, Mobile, Alabama, or New Orleans, Louisiana.

In recent years, Mississippi’s burning plan has not gone well. The program was previously operated in Greenville by Delta Regional Medical Center, which closed in 2005. Merit Health opened the Burn Center in 2008 with the American Burn and Reconstruction Center.

In 2006, before Merit Health agreed to build a center, state lawmakers contacted then-Vice President of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Dan Jones.

“The financial situation for burn care at the time was far from ideal. Unfortunately, like many health problems, this affected families with lower incomes more than others… The same problem that happened in Greenville would be our problem,” Jones said.

He said he went to the legislature to ask for an annual commitment to help UMMC run the program. Lawmakers provided one-time funding to UMMC, but did not commit to ongoing funding.

Aiden Robinson, 11, shows off the scars he suffered from accidental burns in 2019. Aiden is being treated at the state’s only burn center, which will close in October. Credit: Eric Shelton / Mississippi Today

“We made a difficult decision and we couldn’t do that,” he said.

Now, more than 10 years later, when Mississippi Today asked UMMC if UMMC was considering building a burn center, officials declined to comment.

Before Aiden’s injury, Crystal knew nothing about the burn program. When she and her husband called an ambulance, she thought Aiden would be taken to Mississippi Children’s Hospital.

“When we arrived (at the burn center), we didn’t have to wait because he was very serious. They let us know that that night the doctors needed a window of time to save the skin,” she said. “[In order to]have as little surgery as possible, and to make recovery easier, he needed surgery that night.”

One of his procedures is done on his ears. At the time, there were only three doctors in the country doing it, Kristel said.

Aiden Robinson was filming in Florida this summer.

“Before this center closed, we lost not only a hospital, but also talented doctors, nurses, OTs and PTs,” she said.

After the accident, Aiden required a year of treatment, including some physical therapy. He received all follow-up care at the burn center clinic, his mum said.

Today, Aiden is 11 years old. The only remnants of his accident were a small scar on his arm and skin, which was particularly sensitive to the sun.

“If someone told me in 2019 that Aiden would be able to live without scars, I wouldn’t believe them,” Crystal said.

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