Cabell hospital expands burn unit
HUNTINGTON -- Cabell Huntington Hospital unveiled the expansion of its specialized burn unit Tuesday, increasing the patient rooms from four to six.
The $1.8 million upgrade on the fourth floor took 11 months to complete and features larger rooms, a better air ventilation system and upgraded equipment to provide advanced care for adults and children with delicate burn injuries.
Todd Schimmel, the clinical coordinator for the burn intensive care unit, said the hospital already averages eight burn patients a day, with some having to be placed in the regular intensive care unit. While that average may seem high for the Tri-State, Schimmel said Cabell Huntington Hospital's burn unit typically gets patients from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky and Virginia. The closest hospital with an extensive burn unit is in Cincinnati.
"More burn patients can be treated by specialized nurses who are trained to treat burns," he said, noting the expansion led to the hiring of four additional nurses.
The average stay for a burn patient is 14 days, but in some cases, it's longer. For Point Pleasant resident Gary Rudolph, it was a long 41 days. He received severe burns to his face, arms and upper body in a work-related incident in Roane County last October. He was placed in a medically induced coma for 17 days, and faced several setbacks that nearly cost him his life.
But Rudolph said from the hospital Tuesday that he owes his life to the care he received from what he described as a very dedicated nursing staff.
"I have never been treated with more dignity and respect," he said. "Cabell Huntington Hospital is the only place, just from my experience."
During his stay, he said the nursing staff talked about the renovations going on one floor down and how excited they were to move into a space they felt would lead to better care.
Registered nurse Robin Wilcox said it truly will improve care, with the larger rooms and positive air flow system that helps prevent the spread of infection. There also are radiant heaters above the beds because burn patients lose body heat, she said.
The move from the fifth floor should be completed later this month. The burn unit opened in 1981 and treats on average 350 different patients each year.
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