Ask Dr. Carlos Medina about his Miami plastic surgery practice and, for most, the mention will conjure up images of glitz and glamour. They would be wrong. Medina, a Puerto Rico native, is one of four doctors overseeing Kendall Regional Medical Center’s Burn Center, an all-inclusive specialized treatment center that celebrated it’s third anniversary this year.
“I’m the opposite of the typical plastic surgeon,” says Medina. “For me, that’s maybe one percent of my practice. The remaining part is all reconstructive, hand trauma or burn patients… those types of cases.”
Opened in 2012, the Burn Center was borne of need, when Kendall Regional (a trauma center since 2011) noticed an influx of burn cases and saw an opportunity to offer the most advanced level of care to both inpatient and outpatient adults, children and infants. “People think that when you are burned the surgery is the toughest part – but it’s all the things that come after the surgery that are the most important,” says Medina. “Having a nurse who knows how to treat those types of wounds, having the right physical therapy, support services… those are the things that make the Burn Center unique. The surgery is a moment in time; we need to get people back to their lives.”
Assisting Medina and his fellow physicians in doing that is a highly-trained staff of nurses, therapists and other specialists who work with patients the moment they walk through the door, and even after their care within the Center has been completed. “I treat the patient right from intake and then as an outpatient,” says Medina, who saw an opportunity in Miami to serve a heavily- Hispanic community after training at Temple University’s trauma center. “I look back now and it’s nice to see where they are today.. They become part of our family, we become close to them. I know they’re doing well when I don’t see them.”
During patient recovery, Kendall Regional staff takes advantage of some of the most advanced care options in burn treatment today, working, says Medina, to help get burn victims back to their lives as quickly as possible. Treatments include everything from using skin substitutes to speed healing and control pain to amniotic treatments for deeper burns on sensitive areas such as the face.
Through it all, the Burn Center team works to make patients comfortable and calm, offering burn victims and their families dedicated nurses and social workers, occupational and physical therapists, private treatment rooms, full access to hospital resources, innovative therapies and a dedicated operating room on standby at all times. “There are not many places in the U.S. like this,” says Dr. Medina. “There are only six in Florida. The community is able to go to the most specialized place for care.”
And within the community, burns are more common than most might think. Medina says many burns are related to South Florida’s good life. “We get a lot of BBQ accidents,” he says. “Kids running around and putting their hands on the grill. We see patients injured from bonfires on the beach, boat owners working on their boats… even burns from microwaves; kids will heat something up and not realize how hot it is.”
Aside from general safety, Medina also stresses that, though superficial burns may heal easily, deeper burns and larger areas always need physician attention. “A lot of times people don’t get to a burn center early enough,” he says. “When in doubt, check it out. The biggest problem with burns can be infection, making early intervention incredibly important.”
The Burn Center at Kendall Regional Hospital is located at 11750 SW 40th St, Miami, FL 33175. The Burn Center is staffed by specially trained Burn Surgeons, Burn Nurses, and a team of ancillary staff dedicated to providing high quality and compassionate care. The Burn Clinic is a state of the art clinic equipped with private treatment rooms. The Burn Center is open Monday-Friday 8 am – 4:30 pm. For more information about The Burn Center, please call 305-480-6690 or visit kendallmed.com.