The Baptist Health Medical Center of Heber Springs hosted a burn course to emergency medical personnel and healthcare providers on October 18. The outreach program is part of the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Burn Center education program.

            Gretel Wilkinson, presenter of the class, said the classes are designed to educate EMTs, paramedics, and emergency room personnel how to take care of patients when they come into the facilities or when they are on the scene with a patient. Wilkinson stressed that the first few hours of burn management is critical and must be done correctly, or it can be detrimental to the patient’s outcome if done incorrectly.

            Wilkinson explained that the Burn Center must refer adult patients to either Springfield, Missouri or Memphis, Tennessee at this time due to a lack of anesthesiologists for adults, but that pediatrics are always accepted there. They are hopeful that they will be able to start accepting adult patients by mid-November. In the meantime, they are able to use telemedicine to preview burns for early diagnosis before a patient is transported to one of the other burn units.

            Wilkinson has been with the Burn Center for 33 years; first at bedside and now with the outreach program and after care. She says she travels throughout the state teaching burn safety and prevention, and emergency burn care. The Arkansas Children’s Hospital Burn Center outreach program rotates throughout the state and visits Heber Springs about once a year.

            The seminar covered basic education about skin, classification of all types of burns, emergency care and referral of burns, care at the Burn Center, and burn prevention. Flyers were given to attendees to hand out to families in their emergency rooms and to post in their triage rooms, and clipboards with basic information were given to them. There was no charge to take the two-hour course and it was worth two nursing contact hours.

            If you know someone who might benefit from fire education for themselves or for a child, call 1-866-KID-FIRE (1-866-543-3473) to get in touch with a Youth Firesetter Intervention Specialist. Specialists are trained to talk to the family and child about fire prevention.