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San Joaquin Community Hospital Partners with Los Angeles-Based Grossman Burn Centers

Burn Care San Joaquin Community Hospital is thrilled to announce a partnership with Los Angeles-based Grossman Burn Centers (GBC), one of the largest and most well respected burn centers in the world.

This collaboration will result in the construction of a World-Renown Burn Center, which will be the only such facility between Fresno and Los Angeles. This 5-bed unit will be stationed on the third floor of San Joaquin Community Hospital and be jointly operated by the hospital and Grossman Burn Centers. The target for completion is December 2008, exactly 50 years since the vision of Dr. A. Richard Grossmans, MD, began.

In 1958, a catastrophic fire attacked Our Lady of Angels Elementary School in Chicago. The fire took the lives of four nuns and 93 children, many of whom were so badly burnt that determining their identity was impossible. Those who survived were taken to Cook County Hospital and treated by chief emergency room resident, Dr. Grossman.

This experience affected Dr. Grossman so deeply that he decided to commit his life to creating a facility that would provide the best burn care anywhere. In 1969 he moved to Los Angeles and convinced Sherman Oaks Community Hospital to devote two beds toward burn care. Nearly a decade later, the burn center had transformed into a free-standing, 30-bed unit that continues to be one of the largest burn centers in the world.

In 1995, Dr. Grossman was joined by his son, Dr. Peter H. Grossman, MD. Over the past 11 years, the national mortality rate for burn patients admitted to a hospital is 5.48 percent. Under the Grossmans’ leadership, Grossman Burn Centers’ rate is only 2.4 percent.

The Grossman Difference
And the level of care is far more than a black and white comparison of mortality; it’s about ensuring that burn victims can return to living the most normal life possible.
Typical burn centers, such as a university or county unit, operate under a “single-surgery philosophy” where the wound is treated and, when necessary, grafted in one surgical procedure with healthy skin from another part of the patient’s body. Unfortunately, this common approach often increases scarring and graft loss.

It is for this reason that Grossman Burn Centers subscribe to a “two-stage surgical approach.” During the first surgery, the wound is treated with cadaver skin and then allowed to settle for a few days before the second surgery. The second surgery then consists of using the patient’s own skin for a permanent graft. This is real burn treatment. This is the Grossman difference.

One of the highest endorsements of Grossman Burn Centers comes from an organization home to employees that are in danger of being burned every day—the Los Angeles Fire Department. As part of an exclusivity agreement, the fire department has stipulated that all of their employees must be treated at a Grossman Burn Center if burned in the field. GBC has similar agreements with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and utility provider Southern California Edison.

In the past, Kern County residents had to drive more than 100 miles to receive proper burn treatment, a prospect that in the heat of the moment was virtually impossible. But now, residents can have confidence that they will be exclusively treated by the world’s foremost experts in burn care.

“This is just another example of San Joaquin Community Hospital assessing the needs of our community and then working to meet those needs,” said SJCH President/CEO Bob Beehler. "We’re excited that not only are we improving the quality of care at our hospital, but we’re bringing in a level of care that is currently absent from our community.”