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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 5-6

An iconic burn unit celebrating golden jubilee

Department of Burns, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery, Vardhaman Mahaveer Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital, New Delhi, India

Date of Web Publication13-May-2013

Correspondence Address:
Karoon Agrawal
Department of Burns, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery Safdarjang Hospital and Vardhman Mahaveer Medical College, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-653X.111772

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How to cite this article:
Agrawal K, Misra A. An iconic burn unit celebrating golden jubilee. Indian J Burns 2012;20:5-6

How to cite this URL:
Agrawal K, Misra A. An iconic burn unit celebrating golden jubilee. Indian J Burns [serial online] 2012 [cited 2023 Jun 8];20:5-6. Available from: https://www.ijburns.com/text.asp?2012/20/1/5/111772

The Department of Burns, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery at Vardhaman Mahaveer Medical College and Safdarjang Hospital was conceptualized and started in the year 1963 by Prof Dr. J. L. Gupta. The department has since completed 50 years and has attained an iconic status in the country. This department is part of the Safdarjang Hospital which was established in 1942 during Second World War as an erstwhile American Hospital which functioned in the barracks for almost 15 years.

This department, a well-planned unit for burn care, was the first of its kind. It was envisaged as the largest burn unit in the country and still continues to be so receiving more than 6000 burn patients annually. The setup was meticulously planned 50 years ago with a Burn Intensive Care Unit (ICU), a step-down ward or the high-dependency unit (HDU), a burn ward with bath tub, exclusive laboratory, physiotherapy unit and dedicated burn operation theatre (BOT). Such a large, well-planned unit still eludes most parts of the country. A casualty was set up within the department to receive burn patients directly in the department, thereby reducing the transit time, which is of critical importance. A separate outpatient wing was created for the burn patients to allow focused care in the outpatient department. The burn outpatient wing has provision for dressing of males, females and children separately. There is a dedicated Operation theatre for burn patients enabling preferential treatment in cases where surgery is required. The system has been organized in such a way that the care is graded and doctors are available at each station to decide, oversee and guide the patient management.

With changing leadership over the past 50 years many modifications have taken place within the setup since its inception. Dr. J. L. Srivastava, Dr. I. N. Tiwari, Dr. S. P. Bajaj and Dr R. P. Narayan augmented the facilities and created an establishment of the highest international standards. The entire department is air-conditioned which ensures maintenance of optimum temperature which is vital for management of burn patients. The ICU is now equipped with bedside monitors, mechanized state-of-the-art critical care beds, modern ventilators, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters, arterial blood gas analyzer and bedside X-ray facility. The wards have been redesigned to provide adequate isolation to the burn patients without hindering access to the medical personnel. There are adequate nursing and paramedical staff to take care of the high patient turnover.

Tertiary level care is available within the department for care of the burn victims. ICU management is facilitated by round-the-clock presence of a MCh trainee senior resident who is responsible for the overall management of the patients along with intra-departmental and inter-departmental co-ordination. There is adequate and free supply of conventional as well as advanced dressing material like collagen, nano-crystalline silver dressings, growth factor etc. Oral and parenteral antibiotics are also freely available for use as per the antibiotic policy of the department. The department also provides supportive therapy products such as albumin, immunoglobulin and pre-formulated mixtures for nutrition to the patients. Because of these facilities the department receives patients from every part of the country and abroad.

Post-burn deformities and problems also get adequate attention. The patients are managed in conjunction with the rehabilitation specialists and physiotherapists. Appropriate pressure garments and splints are provided to the patients wherever indicated. Today, Safdarjang Hospital has become synonymous with care of Burn and Plastic Surgery patients.

The Department is also actively involved in the cause of burn prevention. It is because of the efforts of the department that Delhi is now a kerosene-free state and that the sale of crackers during Diwali is hugely regulated. Since the last two years, on arrival, the details of all the burn patients including the incidence are recorded in "Safdarjang burn registry proforma" which is a modified World Health Organization (WHO) proforma. This is developing into a very useful tool for data collection for future studies and planning.

The department provides strategic consultation whenever any fire-related disaster occurs in the country and outside. Many faculty members are also actively involved in the formulation and execution of the Government of India's National Program on Prevention and Management of Burns.

The department is one of the largest academic centers in the country training 10 plastic surgeons every year in Burns and Plastic surgery. It has a very vibrant and well-designed MCh training program with 2 months external posting to various centers of excellence in the country. There are 16 dedicated teaching faculties to teach and train these budding burn and plastic surgeons. It also trains the burn surgeons from various states under the National Program. This is paving the way for the development of the "National Institute of Burns and Plastic Surgery".

Ours is not only a burn centre, but also a comprehensive plastic surgery centre. Reconstructive surgery of all kinds, cleft and craniofacial surgery, aesthetic surgery, microvascular surgery, maxillofacial surgery, urogenital reconstruction, cancer reconstruction, etc., are all carried out in large numbers on a daily basis.

It also has a very favorable environment for research and educational activities with its own upcoming research lab, e-learning centre and library. Over the years the department has contributed richly to the specialty in the form of publications and presentations at various forums by the faculty and the residents.

This department is very active in the National Academy of Burns, India (NABI), having a large number of executive members. The department can boast of having given four presidents to the National Academy of Burns, India - Dr. S. P. Bajaj (2000-01), Dr. Karoon Agrawal (2009-10), Dr. V. K. Tiwari (2011-12) and the incumbent President Dr. R. P. Narayan (2013-14). Of course the founder of this department Prof. J. L. Gupta is the patron and founder of NABI.

The Golden Jubilee of such a rich and versatile burn unit gives us an opportunity to redefine the future vision of this premier department and jointly work towards continued excellence in the care of burn victims as well as plastic and reconstructive surgery patients. To celebrate this milestone, a new operation theatre complex, a new plastic surgery outpatient facility, purchase of new sets of equipments and instruments are underway. Many teaching and research activities have been planned to aptly celebrate the year. We seek the indulgence of everyone to make it happen. Kudos to Safdarjang Burns, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgery Department.


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