VCU’s Evans-Haynes Burn Unit in New Critical Care Hospital To Revolutionize Burn Care

The Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center’s Evans-Haynes Burn Unit, the oldest civilian burn unit in the country, is expanding in size and scope with the opening of the new Critical Care Hospital.

The new facility, which occupies the entire eighth floor of the Critical Care Hospital, will expand from a 12-bed unit to 16, and feature eight, single, general burn-care beds and eight burn-intensive beds, specifically designed for patients who require specialized care.

According to Andrea Pozez, M.D., professor and chair of the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the new burn unit facility is unique across the country in planning and architecture.

“The planning for this unit has been going on for about five years and my predecessor, Dr. Austin Mehrhof, spent a great deal of time going to other burn centers throughout the country to be certain that what we designed would be the very best,” Pozez said.

This unit provides the best comprehensive care for anyone injured by a burn in the region, regardless of the patient’s age,” she said.

Features of the new unit include hose reels hung from the ceiling for flushing wounds and specialized lighting for the treatment and examination of burns. Specialized water purification devices installed in each room will help prevent infection in some of the most susceptible patients. 

Further, patients will not have to be moved as often, nor will they need to share a single procedure room. Instead, patients who may have infections can be treated from the comfort of their own rooms with hydrotherapy equipment and comprehensive monitors readily available.

The mobile headwall located in each room gives doctors and nurses the flexibility to move strategically around each patient, while still keeping all the tools they need at hand.

In the former burn center, the space was smaller, with patients in double rather than single rooms and just one small area for larger scaled procedures and debridement – the process of removing damaged or infected tissues.

Traci Wakefield, R.N., nurse manager of the Evans-Haynes Burn Center, said family members were sometimes asked to leave due to space constraints.

“One of the most important factors in a patient’s recovery is having supportive family around,” said Wakefield. “Bringing patients and families together in a comfortable environment, allows for true collaboration between patients, families and the burn team.

“With the additional space in the new unit, families will be able to partner with us as appropriate in the care of their loved ones,” Wakefield said.

“Burn care requires a lot of manpower, a lot of effort by many to get good outcomes,” Pozez said. “We are expanding in size with the understanding that in the time of mass casualty, it’s imperative that we have the potential to provide these services when they’re needed.”

The Evans-Haynes Burn Center at the VCU Medical Center was founded in 1947 by Dr. Everett I. Evans. During Evans’ tenure as burn director, many advances in burn care emerged, including the creation of the first civilian intensive care unit and the development of the first protocol for post-burn fluid resuscitation. For 36 years, Boyd W. Haynes, M.D., led the program to national recognition.

Today, the unit treats 250 to 300 patients per year and is only one of two burn centers in Virginia. It serves as the regional resource for the care of acute burns and for the reconstructive needs of burn survivors. The center also provides care for people with thermal injury, chemical burns, scald burns, as well as electrical injury and skin loss.

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About VCU and VCU Medical Center

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see