Explore This Program

About This Program

The Massachusetts General Hospital Sumner Redstone Burn Center's Burn, Acute and Critical Care Program provides expert care for patients who have suffered burn injuries and other skin disorders.

Mass General, one of the few verified adult burn centers in New England, is a high-volume referral center for the region. With both inpatient and outpatient care available on the same floor, we can treat adult burn patients along the entire continuum of care.

Patients who have experienced significant burns are usually brought to the Mass General Department of Emergency Medicine, where they are evaluated by the Burns Center team.

Following initial evaluation, these patients are either discharged for outpatient follow-up or admitted to the hospital for further evaluation and treatment. If the size of the burn warrants, some patients are admitted to the Burn Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for minute-to-minute care. Those patients with less severe burns may be admitted to the burn inpatient floor for general care.

  • Acute Care: Patients requiring less monitoring than critically ill patients are admitted to the Burn Inpatient Unit, where they benefit from our staff's specialized expertise in caring for their burns.
  • Critical Care: Our staff closely monitors patients from the moment they arrive in the Burn ICU. Within the first 24 hours of admission, our surgical team will determine the optimal treatment course for the injury. Our multidisciplinary approach is aimed at delivering state-of-the-art care to close the wounds in the shortest time possible, while ensuring patient comfort.

The Knowledge to Act Quickly

Over the first 48 to 72 hours after injury, burns can become more severe. We are meticulous in our monitoring practices and skilled in determining the best treatment approach.

Our primary goal is to return patients to their normal lives as quickly as possible. Within 24 hours of admission, the patients are evaluated by our team of specialists, including physical and occupational therapists, to begin a rehabilitation program. Within 24 hours after admission, our team also begins planning for the patient's discharge. Case managers see patients during their stay in the Burn ICU and/or inpatient floor and can assist with coordinating discharge plans. After discharge, we continue to monitor the patient's rehabilitation efforts through our outpatient service.

Support in a Time of Need

Our center recognizes the profound impact a burn injury can have on the entire family. In addition to medical and nursing staff, our team is composed of social service and psychiatry experts to help and support patients and their families throughout their time of need.

A Team that Cares

Our experienced and compassionate team—which includes critical care intensivists who deliver 24-hour burn coverage—includes:

  • Burn surgeons
  • Emergency Medicine physicians and staff
  • Plastic and burn reconstructive surgeons
  • A psychiatrist
  • Nursing staff
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Nutritionists
  • Chaplaincy
  • Operating room staff
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Speech-language pathology
  • Social services

The Site of Important Treatment Innovations

Mass General has provided burn treatments to patients since 1821. We helped usher in the modern era of burn care in 1942 in the aftermath of the disastrous Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire. Besides demonstrating the efficacy of a new approach to treating burn victims at the time, our physicians made important advances in recognizing and treating pulmonary injury.

In the 1980s, Dr. John Burke and Dr. Ronald Tompkins, former chief of Mass General's Division of Burns, Shriners Hospital Children chief of staff and director of Burns Research, pioneered early excision and grafting. This procedure, recognized as a major step forward in treating patients with significant burns, is considered a standard of care by the American Burn Association.

Today, we continue to push the field of burn treatment forward through research into areas such as inflammation and infection, wound healing and metabolism. Under the leadership of Dr. Tompkins, one of the highest-funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) investigators at Mass General, the service has an extremely active research program.

Our service is also committed to staying on the cutting edge of new developments in burn care, employing the latest innovations in burn treatments and therapies.

Education Is a Priority

Community outreach is an important part of our work. Each year we conduct a number of programs to educate the public about burn and fire prevention. In addition, we regularly offer classes to medical professionals on improving critical and acute burn care.

The Division of Burns trains general surgery residents as well as clinical fellows.

Learn more