Department of Defense Contract to be used to Achieve Better Treatments for Military, Civilian Victims of Burns
MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Loyola University Health Systems (LUHS) has received a $1.6 million contract from the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to research burn injuries, the care of burn wounds and infections and how burns affect the immune system.
The research will take place in Loyola's Burn and Shock Trauma Institute, a multidisciplinary community of scientists and clinicians devoted to the study of burn wounds, burn research and trauma. The Institute provides direct lab-to-bedside therapies to the Burn Center of Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. In the hospital, institute members and clinicians work together on numerous clinical trials to find new potential treatments.
"Loyola is a nationally recognized leader in the area of burn trauma and our Burn and Shock Trauma Institute serves as the research arm of Loyola's Burn Center," said Dr. Richard L. Gamelli, chief of the Burn Center and dean of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "This contract will allow Loyola to continue in this leadership role."
Burn injuries from explosives, napalm and white phosphorus and vehicle and structure fires account for a significant number of combat casualties, according to information from the DOD. Historically, about 5 to 10 percent of all combat casualties involved severe burns that require highly specialized care, such as that given in the Burn Center.
Burns also remain a major cause of injury and death in the civilian population in the United States. Each year, about 500,000 people are treated for burn injuries, resulting in 45,000 hospitalizations and 4,000 deaths in the United States, according to the American Burn Association. More than 60 percent of those hospitalized for burns each year are admitted to hospitals with specialized burn centers.
Burn injuries are caused by motor vehicle and aircraft crashes and contact with electricity, chemicals or hot liquids and substances. Complication from burns include pneumonia, wound infection, infections, damage to the immune system and disfigurement.
U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) helped Loyola secure the grant that will allow the Burn and School Trauma Institute to continue to provide leading-edge research that focuses on improving medical treatment for military and civilian victims of burns.
"We are privileged to conduct this research, which has life-saving implications for both the civilian population and our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Dr. Paul K. Whelton, president and CEO of LUHS. "We applaud Sen. Durbin for his dedicated support in the areas of burn care and research."
A multidisciplinary team, which includes resuscitation, pulmonary support, wound management, nutritional support and rehabilitation personnel, provide care in the Burn Center for all types of wounds beyond burn injuries. Patients include those suffering from severe frostbite, complex soft-tissue infections, road rash from traffic accident as well as those related to inhaled toxins and chemical exposure.
Loyolaâs Burn Center is one of the busiest in the Midwest, treating 400 patients annually in the hospital, and another 2,000 patients each year in its outpatient clinic. About 40 percent of these patients are children. The center has a staff of about 70, including nurses, patient care technicians, service coordinators and service associates.