Burn Conference

Burn treatment is a medical specialty for a reason. It requires special skills. As the oil industry grows, so does the need for this type of specialized care. This is why doctors, nurses, first responders and surgeons from across the state recently flocked to Bismarck for hands-on training.

(Van Tieu, Reporting):  When North Dakota went boom with oil, it also went boom with fires.

(Howard Walth, St. Alexius Trauma Coordinator):  "We’re seeing oil well explosions and things that are construction non-related. Pipelines.. and those sort of things. Very serious injuries.”

(Tieu):  Burn injuries have increased each year since 2007, and the latest State Trauma report shows burn-caused injuries in 2012 outpace years past. But there are zero burn centers in North Dakota.

(Walth):  "The nearest burn center in St. Paul."

(Tieu):  Seeing a lack of expertise in burn care and management, Walth reached out to Regions Hospital in St. Paul. They agreed to provide free training to health providers all across the state.  The St. Alexius Health and Education Center opened last April and was the perfect spot for trainings.  Eric Huepel, a paramedic manager in Ashley, traveled 120 miles for the hands-on training from Regions at St. Alexius’s Hot Topics Education in Burn Care Conference. A trip he says was worth the time, because Ashley Hospital transfers patients to Bismarck, a two-hour drive, where Huepel would have to manage a burn patient for the entire ride.

(Eric Huepel, Ashley, ND Paramedic Manager):  "This is a great training session today because we don’t see a lot of burns. Burns we get in our area are very rare, but they’re increasing in frequency.”

(Tieu):  St. Alexius hopes that the lessons taught at the conference will be brought back to community hospitals impacted by the boom.

Van Tieu, Reporting