Region's leading burn care enables positive outcome for Justin Taylor
Justin Taylor adores his children, Alana, 11, Carter, 8, and Arabella, 1. When he looks at Arabella, he sees the beautiful baby girl she is, but also something more. He sees a new beginning and a hopeful chapter following a harrowing ordeal.
In August 2015, Justin nearly lost his life in an explosion in his home. He was handling a butane lighter when a nearby electrical outlet threw sparks. The combination proved almost deadly as the resulting explosion caused burns to 70% of Justin's body, along with respiratory damage from smoke inhalation.
When the ambulance arrived, Justin was barely conscious, but he recalls a thread of the emergency response team's conversation.
"There was talk of taking me to the nearest community hospital, but I heard someone say, 'No. He won't survive if we don't take him straight to The University of Kansas Hospital."
The region's premier burn care
The hospital, part of The University of Kansas Health System, offers the Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center, the area's only adult and pediatric burn care facility accredited by the American Burn Association and American College of Surgeons. The program earns this certification – for which it is fully reassessed every 3 years – for its seamless coordination of care across disciplines and resources dedicated to burn care 24/7.
"We are the area's only verified burn center," says burn and wound care surgeon Dhaval Bhavsar, MD, co-director of the burn center. "That is a mark of distinction for our patients, their families, our community and our payers. We provide the highest quality of care and resources for our patients, not just while they're in the hospital, but throughout their complete recovery."
Under Dr. Bhavsar's direction, Justin received inpatient burn treatment until mid-November. This included hand therapy that began within 24 hours of his admission.
"He had very severe burns," says Janelle Epp, occupational therapist for the health system. "For some time, he was intubated and sedated. During this period, we focused on positioning, splinting and passive range of motion to reduce edema and prevent contractures. We progressed to active motion and attempting use of his arms as he improved. We needed to keep his joints moving while he healed, including after skin grafting. It was our goal to get him as independent as possible before he went home or to rehab."