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Sacramento burn center busy after Northern California 4th of July celebrations

Fourth of July keeps Sacramento burn center busy
Fourth of July keeps Sacramento burn center busy 02:01

SACRAMENTO — The Fourth of July may be over, but work is just beginning at the UC Davis burn center in Sacramento, where treatment is underway for all the victims injured by fireworks.

Dr. Tina Palmieri is the chief burn surgeon at the Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center at UC Davis. She said about two dozen people suffered firework-related wounds.

"Unfortunately, two people had to go to surgery immediately for amputations," she said. "This year is interesting. Every single person that got injured was male."

Many of the injuries involve more than just burns and will need treatment from multiple specialists.

"Someone that's been injured by fireworks might need to see a whole host of different people depending on where the injury is and how severe it is," Dr. Palmieri said. "If the injury is to the hand, which has many vital structures, there are hand specialists that are extremely busy every Fourth of July."

Dr. Palmieri said that there can be a long road to recovery from a fireworks mishap.

"Burn injuries happen pretty quickly but they take a long time to get better," she said.

UC Davis is the region's only burn center and treats patients from as far away as southern Oregon and Reno, Nevada. It was founded 52 years ago following the crash of an airplane into the Farrell's Ice Cream Parlor near Sacramento Executive Airport.

Each year, firefighters hold a Fill the Boot fundraiser to raise money for the burn center's treatment and research.

The hospital is currently building a new tower which will create even more room to care for patients, tripling the capacity.

It's a top-rated health care team ready to respond with treatment and support when Fourth of July tragedies happen.

"There's always somebody who's not being careful with a firework and these injuries are pretty much preventable," Dr. Palmieri said.

The hospital is also leading research into using artificial skin made of plastic to make burn wounds heal faster and reduce scarring.

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