Skip to main content

Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins Pediatric

Johns Hopkins Pediatric Burn Center Is the Only One of Its Kind in Maryland

[image name]

“We pay very close attention to quality-of-life changes for kids at different developmental levels.” — Andrew Gill

At the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Burn Center, a multidisciplinary team helps patients and their families heal, both physically and mentally. The center is the only one of its nature in Maryland and among few in the mid-Atlantic region.

“Our primary goal is to treat our patients as wholistically as possible,” says surgeon Erica Hodgman, director of the pediatric burn program. “Anybody with some training can do a skin graft, but what sets us apart and gives us really great outcomes is all of the other wrap-around support we offer.”

Experts at the center see roughly 370 inpatients and upward of 800 outpatients each year, Hodgman says. Medical and surgical treatments run a full range — from irrigation with cold water to halt thermal injury to debridement to remove dead skin tissue, as well as providing dressings and skin grafting. The team also performs reconstruction procedures and laser treatments to reduce scars.

The center is home to a psychology team, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists and pharmacists — all of whom help manage aspects of burn injuries.

The group always looks to incorporate new treatments and technologies, say Hodgman and surgeon Alejandro Garcia, associate director of the pediatric burn program. Johns Hopkins is part of a five-center consortium that discusses innovations and best practices in burn care and considers new treatment methods. The other consortium hospitals are Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

Clinicians at the Johns Hopkins center use long-term dressings as soon as possible after injury so families won’t need to change dressings at home. The clinicians adopted a product that allows them to take a small skin sample from patients to create a spray-on skin cell solution to help regenerate tissue.

The center’s experts also focus on prevention. During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Garcia says, the team saw an uptick both in fire pit-related burns and treadmill friction burns, and it performed preventive outreach in those areas.

“From prevention to treatment to post-burn care, we give kids a comprehensive package to help them with all of the elements of a burn,” Garcia says. “That’s one of our biggest strengths.”

            Regarding mental health, psychologist Andrew Gill and colleagues support patients and families from admission through inpatient and outpatient care, helping patients adjust to their injuries and preparing them for discharge and potential home-based medical care. They address patients’ concerns such as coping with pain and worries about returning to school, as well as how to respond to rumors and questions. The team also helps parents mitigate guilt when toddlers are injured by burns.

            “We pay very close attention to lots of quality-of-life changes that we can find for kids at different developmental levels,” Gill says, including difficulties regarding bathing, dressing and sleeping. “We want them to be able to cope as well as possible with any medical care they need to receive.”

Additionally, the team supports activities to help children and families connect with each other. Garcia and others have volunteered at a regional, weeklong summer camp for children who survived burns. And after a hiatus due to the pandemic, the center is bringing back a burn survivor picnic, held in conjunction with local fire departments.

            “Our firefighters bring kids in after these really big injuries and never get to see them again, or our ER nurses see kids at their worst moments and never see them again,” Hodgman says. “The picnic is helpful and healing for everybody.”


For more information, visit the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Burn Center website.










© The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System. All rights reserved.