In April, 1947, the SS Grandcamp, a freight ship filled with ammonium nitrate, exploded in the harbor of Texas City, Texas. More than 600 people were killed and thousands were wounded in what became the worst industrial disaster in the United States. Due to its proximity to the accident, the University of Texas Medical Branch treated many of those injured in the blast.
As a result, Texas medical legend Dr. Truman Blocker organized and developed the Department of Surgery at UTMB into a multidisciplinary burns program, recruiting researchers, teachers and clinicians to prepare them for future mass disasters.
He subsequently persuaded the Shriners Hospitals of North America to develop the Shriners Hospital for Burns in Galveston, Texas, the first of its kind in the world. As a result, the Truman G. Blocker Burn Unit at UTMB has been recognized as one of the world’s leading centers for burn treatment, research and education.
UTMB’s Blocker Burn Unit specializes in the treatment of thermal, chemical and radiation burns, as well as research related to burns, trauma, sepsis and tissue repair. It has the highest survival rate of patients with major burn injury (greater than 80%) of all hospitals in the U.S. In 1996, it became the first burn center in the U.S. to be certified by both the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association, an accreditation it has maintained continuously since 1996.
In August 2012, the Blocker Burn Unit had a rededication ceremony to celebrate a complete renovation of the unit. As the only center in the country where critical care fellows can be trained in burn care, the Blocker Burn Unit has trained more than 200 fellows who are now leading burn centers around the world.
The renovated Blocker Burn Unit has roughly doubled in size — with two more dedicated beds, bringing the total to six — and now comfortably accommodates both inpatient and outpatient care in a soothing environment that incorporates the best in design.
Treatment for burn patients requires a team approach with as many as four care providers at the bedside simultaneously. The rooms have nearly doubled in size, allowing that care to flow freely and providing extra space for family to stay in the room.
The design now allows the health team to provide hydrotherapy and wound care at the bedside for critically ill patients. Warmth is critical when caring for severe burns and the new design makes it possible to keep room temperatures at more than 100 degrees without warming the entire unit.
Hospital Transfers: 409-747-2170
Toll Free: 800-96-ADMIT
Jamie Heffernan, RN, BSN, CCRN
Amy Barrera-Kovach, LMSW, CCM
Education Outreach Coordinator
Total Burn Care