Saint Barnabas’ Burn Center Restores Victims To Health
Jennifer Doherty only had a few hours to enjoy her vacation in Jamaica
in 2012. At dinner on her first night there, she approached a flaming
dessert station. She doesn’t remember how, but the flames caught
her, causing second and third degree burns on her face, neck, chest and
arms. But she was airlifted to
Saint Barnabas Medical Center, and today is back at work as a teacher.
Doherty, 46, and her husband, Hani Khoury, live in Hackensack. She initially
was treated at the resort and a local hospital, but “I was heavily
medicated and only remember bits and pieces of it,” she says. She
does remember the medical transport to Saint Barnabas, and being taken
to the special “tank room,” where her wounds were cleaned.
Then she was fully bandaged from the waist up, including her whole face and ears.
Doherty spent eight days in the intensive care unit, and the pain was well
managed, she says. Then came seven weeks of what’s called step-down
care, in which she slowly moved from critical care to more normal daily
care. But she still needed regular treatments in the tank room and remained
heavily medicated. About three weeks after the accident, she received
skin grafts, taken from her leg, to her chest, arms and ears.
“The care I received was phenomenal, and the nurses and technicians
made the experience a bearable situation,” she says. She admits
the scars left by the burns were “shocking” at first. Some
scars are still evident today, but she doesn’t hide them under long
sleeves or high-neck shirts. “I am always open and talk about it
with people who don’t know,” she says.
Doherty was so happy with her care, she shares her experience at support
groups for other burn patients. She was trained in a program called Soar—Survivors
offering assistance in recovery—by the Phoenix Society for burn
survivors. “It is really great to share that common experience,” she says.
About The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas
The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, verified since 1999 by the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and American
Burn Association (ABA) is New Jersey's only certified burn treatment
facility. Since its establishment in 1977, The Burn Center is one of the
largest and busiest centers in the United States, treating tens of thousands
Each year, a dedicated team of close to 100 professionals with unparalleled
clinical experience provides a full range of diagnostic and therapeutic
services for approximately 400 inpatients; 40% of whom are children under the age of five.
Inpatient care is provided in a 12-bed Intensive Care Unit and 16-bed Step-down
Unit for in-patient care which feature two state-of-the-art hydrotherapy
rooms for the management of burn wounds. A specialized rehabilitation
room, staffed with highly trained physical and occupational therapists
is equipped with a variety of machines and devices specially designed
to foster the return of range of motion and minimize loss of function
commonly associated with a burn injury.
In addition, staff members treat outpatients with small or minor burns
and provide follow-up care for discharged burn patients in The Center for
Wound and Burn Healing.
The burn team treats more than just physical injuries. Support groups for
recovering burn patients, their families and friends are offered to help
survivors cope with the anger, guilt and frustration commonly seen throughout
the recovery process. Licensed social workers oversee these therapeutic
discussions to help attendees realize they are not alone as they struggle
to come to terms with such a life-changing event.