Firefighters donate $1M to UC Davis regional burn center

Thirty years after it helped create the UC Davis Regional Burn Center, an organization of Sacramento-area firefighters has donated $1 million to help build a new center that will double the size of the current facility and consolidate all burn services in a single location.

The donation, made by the Firefighters Burn Institute, will help fund the building of a new regional burn center and support vital teaching, research and patient care programs at UC Davis. The new burn unit, to be located in the Surgery and Emergency Services Pavilion, is now under construction at Stockton and X Streets in Sacramento. The pavilion is slated to open in 2008.

"We are proud to support UC Davis' new burn center, and are committed to raising another $1 million for this important community resource," said Patty Neifer, executive director of the Firefighters Burn Institute.

The burn center will occupy 9,000 square feet, up from the current unit's 4,500 square feet, expanding space for patient care and treatment and for storage and equipment. The existing eight-bed regional burn center provides care to nearly 300 burn patients annually from throughout the medical center's 33-county Northern California region. Patients are admitted for life-saving procedures, intricate wound care assessment and management, as well as rehabilitation and psychosocial support and counseling.

The regional burn center is one of only two burn units in Northern California verified and certified by the American Burn Association. Current research focuses on improving wound healing, detecting early signs of scar formation, and improving transfusion rates.

"The efforts of the Firefighters Burn Institute — and countless Northern California firefighters and community members — will help us forge vital discoveries in burn care and treat even more critically injured patients," said David Greenhalgh, chief and professor of burn surgery for the UC Davis Department of Surgery and chief of staff at Shriners Hospital for the Children Burn Center.

The Firefighters' dollar-by-dollar "Fill-the-Boot for Burns" campaign, in which firefighters ask for donations at intersections, contributed significantly to the $1 million donation. Firefighters and staff also have raised money through special events and payroll deductions.

The medical center and firefighters first partnered in 1972 to establish the UC Davis Regional Burn Center after a devastating plane crash at a Sacramento ice cream parlor killed 22 people and severely burned dozens more.

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