After an explosion stopped his heart and left him with burns on more than 20 percent of his body, Bob Sellers received treatment at central Ohio’s only adult burn center. His treatment was guided by Sidney Miller, MD, FACS, director of Ohio State’s Burn Center.
“I was unrecognizable,” recounts Bob Sellers about his features after an explosion resulted in burns over 20 percent of his body, including inside his lungs.
On September 26, 2008, a ruptured gas line created an explosion in the church activity center that Sellers, a 72-year-old construction contractor from Westerville, was helping to build. The force took the roof off the building. After co-workers helped him out of the rubble and removed his burning shirt, Sellers fell to the ground and his heart stopped beating.
Emergency personnel were able to restart his heart and transport him to central Ohio’s only adult burn center at The Ohio State University Medical Center.
Because many community hospitals do not have the expertise and facilities to treat burn patients, Ohio State’s Burn Center treats patients from across the state. “The reality is that most community hospitals only see a couple of burn patients a year,” says Sidney Miller, MD, FACS, director of the Center. “Because of the number of patients we treat annually, we are able to offer the expert care burn patients require.”
The Burn Center team includes staff from across all clinical and therapeutic areas. They work with patients from the time of their admission through the duration of outpatient treatment. “We become really attached to our patients,” says Dr. Miller. “It’s not just a job for our team; it’s very important to us personally how well our patients do.”
Dr. Miller was recently named president of the American Burn Association (ABA). The ABA promotes and supports burn-related research, patient care, education, rehabilitation and prevention, with an overall focus on improving the quality of care provided to burn patients. This role will allow him to bring more resources to Ohio State.
“It’s a miracle that I am here today. I can’t compliment Dr. Miller and everybody in that burn unit enough,” says Sellers. “I’ve never seen such compassion. You’ve got to be a special kind of person to work in a burn unit.”
Safety First in Grease Fires
According to Dr. Miller, the story of most grease fire burn victims treated at the Ohio State Burn Center is identical. Dr. Miller reports that folks typically encounter grease smoking on a stove. They pick up the pan to try to get it to a sink or out the back door. Tragedy strikes when the person slips or tips the pan and they are burned by the grease.
“You are dealing with a couple of factors in a grease fire. First, grease is supposed to hold in heat to cook meat,” says Dr. Miller. “And, secondly it sticks to the meat to prolong cooking. This means grease also clings to skin when it is burning you. It is incredibly dangerous.”
Dr. Miller recommends a few simple steps to prevent tragedy in the home.
- Don’t pick up the pan.
- Turn off the burner.
- Cover the pan with a wet towel.
- Let the pan cool.