Patient & Visitor InformationContact Us

Rhode Island Burn Center at Rhode Island Hospital Receives Reverification for Adult and Pediatric Treatment

Rhode Island Burn Center director David Harrington, MD talks about caring for burn patients, and what it means to be a verified burn center.

The Rhode Island Burn Center at Rhode Island Hospital has been reverified as an adult and pediatric burn center by the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons. To receive this designation, a burn program must meet rigorous standards in organizational structure, personnel qualifications, facilities resources and medical care services.

“Rhode Island Hospital became a verified burn center several years after the Station nightclub fire, which brought more than 75 patients to our emergency department, many with life-threatening burn injuries,” said David T. Harrington, MD, director of the Rhode Island Burn Center and a physician with University Surgical Associates. “The burn center designation was borne of that tragedy, and it is fitting that the reverification of our center should come as we mark the Station fire’s 10th anniversary.”

Harrington continued, “Burn patients are unlike many other trauma cases – it’s not about broken bones that can heal, internal organs that can be repaired and kept out of sight. For a burn patient, the injuries are lifelong, they must learn to adapt to a new life in a new body. The injuries can be devastating, but the strength and perseverance of many of our patients is nothing short of remarkable.”

In order to receive and retain certification from the American Burn Association, a burn center must employ a medical director who demonstrates ongoing involvement in burn-related research; must have timely access to operating rooms; the director must oversee total burn care for 50 or more acutely burned patients each year, and the attending staff surgeons must participate in the care of 50 or more acutely burned patients each year. Additionally, a burn center must provide care across the spectrum of the injury, including prevention, acute care, rehabilitation and reintegration into society.

To help patients reintegrate, the Rhode Island Burn Center last year launched a quarterly burn survivors’ support group. This group provides a safe and comfortable environment for burn survivors and their loved ones to share their stories and to receive support from both caregivers at all levels, as well as from other survivors.

There are more than 2 million burns per year and approximately 10,000 burn-related deaths in the U.S., second only to motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death.

The American Burn Association is dedicated to improving the lives of everyone affected by burn injury through patient care, education, research and advocacy. The ABA and its members dedicate their efforts and resources to promoting and supporting burn-related research, education, care, rehabilitation, and prevention. It has more than 3,500 members in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America, including physicians, nurses, occupational and physical therapists, researchers, social workers, firefighters and hospitals with burn centers.

A brief video about the Rhode Island Burn Center can be found here.