Intensive Care Units

The Burn Intensive Care Unit is part of the Sumner Redstone Burn Center, one of only four Verified Adult Burn Centers in New England. Mass General is a leader in providing critical care for patients with thermal, electrical and chemical burns, cold injury, and skin diseases or infection.

Dressing a burn

Changing patient dressings

Burn Intensive Care Unit

Leading the Way in Burn Care

The Sumner Redstone Burn Center at Mass General is one of four regional Verified Adult Burn Centers. Each year, the center treats more than 300 patients for injuries sustained from thermal burns (those caused by contact with fire, steam, hot liquids or objects), electrical burns, chemical burns, cold injury or large-area skin disease or infection.

The Burn Center is scheduled to move in 2012 into a redesigned, state-of-the-art facility within Mass General, expanding the Burn ICU from five beds to eight. Currently, four ICU beds feature a bacteria-controlled nursing unit. This HEPA-filtered plastic enclosure maintains a controlled environment for patients at risk of infection and hypothermia due to large-area surface injury. The new Burn ICU will have private rooms and designated facilities for physical and occupational therapy to enhance the patient experience.

What to Expect

Under the leadership of Medical Director Shawn Fagan, MD, and Nursing Director Anthony DiGiovine, RN, a multidisciplinary team of health care providers closely monitor Burn ICU patients, whose length of stay varies according to degree of injury. The team collaborates daily to fulfill each patient’s care plan and includes:

  • Critical Care surgeons who provide around-the-clock coverage
  • Critical Care nurse practitioners
  • Nurses who have completed the hospital’s 12-week Critical Care Orientation Program
  • Mental health professionals, including an attending psychiatrist and social workers
  • Clinical pharmacists
  • Clinical nutritionists
  • Specialists in respiratory care, physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Case managers
  • Chaplains

In addition, family participation is important in determining the plan of care for their loved ones.

When patients are ready to transfer from the Burn ICU, they remain in the Sumner Redstone Burn Center in a general care bed. The same medical staff provides continuous care. This integrated approach, offered in an intimate setting from initial admission through outpatient follow-up care, provides a sense of community and continuum of care that is vital to positive outcomes.

Expert Care from Board-Certified Intensivists

Patients from throughout New England and beyond come to Mass General for its excellence in burn care. Four surgeons with board certification in general surgery and critical care are responsible for the patients admitted to this unit. They provide care around-the-clock, assisted by a fellow in burn reconstruction and one in critical care surgery, as well as general surgery residents. An attending psychiatrist specializing in the impact of burns and traumatic stress is also on-staff.

Reaching Out to Help Others

The Burn Center staff educates community hospital providers and first responders on best steps to take in the first hours after a burn injury. This outreach ensures that burn victims receive proper care in the critical minutes and hours immediately after injury and during transport to the Burn ICU. Hospitals and first responders throughout New England may call 1-800-678-BURN toll-free for immediate consultation in burn cases. Mass General has a “Just Say Yes” policy of accepting any burn patient in need of its services.

At the Forefront of Burn Research

Mass General is home to a dedicated Burn Research Center that pushes the frontiers in understanding and treating burn injuries. The center received a Glue Grant to join a large-scale, multi-center research program that studies the biological differences behind patient response and recovery after major trauma or burn injury. Burn ICU intensivists participate in multi-center trials to leverage the data on approximately 50,000 burn victims who are treated in burn centers throughout the United States.

Future Leaders in Burn Care

Two fellows, one in burn reconstruction and one in surgical critical care, and all general surgical residents rotate through the Burn ICU. This experience prepares them to become the next generation of physicians and researchers to make advances in burn care.


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