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UC San Diego Regional Burn Center Receives Special Grant from Las Patronas


December 05, 2007  |   

In Recognition of Service During October Wildfires

For nearly a month, the team of specialists at the UC San Diego Regional Burn Center has worked tirelessly to treat victims of October’s wildfires.  Every day, sometimes twice a day, the team changes and dresses the wounds of every patient in the unit, including many who are being treated for non-fire related injuries.  It is intense, demanding work expertly performed by this world-class team. 

In recognition of the team’s dedication and response to the wildfires that devastated San Diego County in October 2007, the volunteer philanthropic organization Las Patronas has awarded a special grant of $77,450 to the UC San Diego Regional Burn Center for the acquisition of a Total Contact, Inc. system for the treatment of burns to the face, neck and chest.  Pressure therapy has proven to be an effective adjunct in reducing scar tissue.

“The clear mask crafted through the Total Contact system is tailored for each patient’s needs,” said Bruce Potenza, MD, Clinical Director of the UC San Diego Regional Burn Center and associate professor of surgery, UC San Diego School of Medicine.  “The patient has a better chance of having appealing cosmetic results with less scarring.  We want our patients to heal well.”

The system creates exact scans of the patient’s facial contours to aid in the creation of a custom designed burn mask that might help lessen scarring and hopefully reduce the number of additional surgeries patients must endure.  These masks provide a particular advantage over currently available modalities because they are translucent, making them much more acceptable when worn in public. 


Burn Center Team

Burn Center Nurse

UC San Diego Regional Burn Center team members delivered round-the-clock, world class care to wildfire victims.

“To offer our patients the best technology available is exciting and rewarding,” said Leann Cortimiglia, RN, CWS, Burn Center nurse. “The mask allows burn survivors to go out in public without attracting a lot of attention, and they have a better scar management result.”

Las Patronas is committed to funding the critical capital needs of nonprofit organizations throughout San Diego County.

“Funding this grant to UC San Diego Regional Burn Center goes to the core of our mission, and fulfills a crucial need in San Diego,” said Las Patronas President Barbara Mulligan. “We wanted to aid victims of the firestorm, but this will also help San Diegans year-round for a long time to come.”

About the UC San Diego Regional Burn Center

Since 1973, The UC San Diego Regional Burn Center has served San Diego and Imperial Counties as well as portions of Arizona and Mexico. Each year, approximately 450 burn victims are admitted and hundreds more are treated as outpatients.

The UC San Diego Regional Burn Center includes eight ICU beds for critical burn patients, with a step down Burn Intermediate care unit that houses up to 10 additional, less critical burn patients as well as a full time burn outpatient clinic that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to care for burn injured children and adults. During a large event and an influx of patients, such as the October wildfires of 2007 and 2003, the Burn Center has the capacity to overflow to other units.

The UC San Diego Regional Burn Center offers state-of-the-art care to burn patients, supporting families and friends and providing education to our community, emergency medical personnel, members of the military, health care professionals world wide as well as to our first responders. UCSD’s long history of innovative research, state of the art reconstruction, and burn care has made this center one of the paramount centers in the world.

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Media Contacts:
Kim Edwards, UC San Diego, 619-543-6163,

Maree Mossmer, Las Patronas, 858-205-0117

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