Burns

The management of pediatric and adult burns in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery has a long and rich history. Apparently the first patient admitted to the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children on Avenue Road in 1875 was a child with a scald burn.

The Ross Tilley Burn Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre is named after Canadian surgeon who served in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) medical service and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for his leadership in pioneering new techniques for treating burns in 1944. The Ross Tilley Burn Centre officially opened on April 18, 1984 and was under the directorship of Dr. Walter J. Peters. In 1998, as part of healthcare restructuring, the Ross Tilley Burn Centre became part of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and transferred from The Wellesley Central site of St. Michaels’ Hospital to the Sunnybrook campus in December of that year. His name remains as a reminder to the rich heritage and pedigree of burn care at this university.

The Ross Tilley Burn Centre (RTBC) is a state-of-the-art facility providing tertiary care for the majority of burn injury patients in the province.

It is the only program of its kind in the province providing a wide range of services from admission to follow-up and reconstructive surgery. Advances in burn care developed by Sunnybrook experts over the last two decades have helped to improve the patient’s burn assessment and treatment. Roughly 30 per cent of patients treated at the centre come from GTA, 70 per cent come from other areas of Ontario. The majority of patients are transferred from their community hospital to the centre; depending on distance, patients arrive either by ambulance, plane or helicopter. A comprehensive burn program provides exceptional care. The Ross Tilley Burn Centre team includes burn surgeons, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, speech language pathologists, dietitians, pharmacists and social workers.

The RTBC treats not only patients with burns, but also, chemical injuries, electrical injuries, frostbite, skin diseases, and complex wounds. Care includes the critical care of these patients, the acute surgeries and at later stages the reconstruction of these patients.

Through our affiliation with the University of Toronto, we offer training to future health care professionals and provide an on-site facility for health research activities. The hospital is currently accredited by Accreditation Canada (Canadian equivalent of JCAHO). The last re-verification was in November of 2013. Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre has been fully accredited three times since serving as a pilot for the International Society for Quality in Health (ISQua) in 1995.

The RTBC has a very strong basic science and translational research component to its makeup. The basic science lab run by Dr. Marc Jeschke is funded by CHIR, NIH, CFI, and PSI and conducts prospective randomized clinical trials, as well as numerous translational studies. Major discoveries and contributions have included 3D printed skin, autologous stem cell usage, burn stress induced cellular organelles, glucose control, and the use of tourniquet for burns, as well as High Frequency Oscillation ventilation in burns.

Pediatric burn care is carried out by the multi-disciplinary burn team at the Hospital for Sick Children under the directorship of Dr. Joel Fish.

This program is to be congratulated in 2013 for their success in becoming the first pediatric burn program in Canada to receive full accreditation by the American Burn Association. The program receives 200 new burn cases annually and is the busiest pediatric burn centre in the country. In 2009, a paradigm shift in burn care occurred with the hiring of a full time burn surgeon and the appointment of a clinical nurse practitioner specializing in burn care. This approach has changed the management of pediatric burns from an intense daily dressing painful approach to a heavy dependence on out-patient care with revolutionary dressings that can be changed every 5 to 7 days. This has made a huge impact on patient satisfaction in addition to cost savings. Current advanced therapy is available for closed technique for dressings and the recent introduction of a laser therapy program for burn scar management. Outreach programs include an active home and school visit program, partnership with local fire-fighters and multiple community events such as Family Burn Picnic and Burn Survivors Information sessions and a Butterfly Newsletter quarterly for survivors and families.

Fellowships in burn care are available at the Ross Tilley Burn Centre, Sunnybrook Health Science Centre and the Hospital for Sick Children.