In Quality Care

The American Burn Association’s Organization and Delivery of Burn Care (ODBC) Committee and its Disaster Subcommittee have been making inroads into preparedness for a burn surge with the new Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response, Dr. Robert Kadlec. ABA Representatives including Kimberly Hoarle, Dr. Colleen Ryan and Dr. James Jeng have attended meetings and listening sessions at ASPR’s Health and Human Services headquarters in Washington, DC as well as the National Academy of Sciences.

The office of the ASPR has now committed 6 million dollars in competitive funding this coming year for a large exercise that involves improved development of a regional disaster response system. Importantly, as a result of our lobbying activities, the grant requires that applicants include a response plan for a burn surge. The ABA hopes to have a major role in an exercise that will utilize the regional burn structure.
The recent Operation Gotham Shield session at the 2018 ABA meeting in Chicago will lend preliminary data toward this end. Our talking points:

  1. A surge of burn victims is likely in many natural or manmade disaster situations.
  2. Burn care is an extremely limited national resource, and that limitation will impact the prevention of death and disability following an event.
  3. National disaster preparedness exercises need to address burn surge, and these exercises must not stop at the hospital door. Burn care extends through the acute hospital, rehabilitation and recovery phases.
  4. Strategic defense initiatives to respond to a burn surge event will require local, federal, civilian and military components.

The ABA will work this summer, along with the American College of Surgeons Committee on Trauma, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and ASPR to update the strategic national stockpile with medical countermeasures for burn injury. The ABA is committed to improving the response to a burn surge disaster event.

By: Colleen M. Ryan, MD, FACS; Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

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