UPMC Mercy Celebrates 33rd Annual Burn Survivor Sunday

By: Taylor Andres

Each year, 40,000 Americans are hospitalized for burn injuries with nearly half of these injuries occurring in the home, according to the Burn Foundation. Although burn injuries can happen in seconds, the effects may last a lifetime. UPMC Mercy recognizes and supports burn patients annually at Burn Survivor Sunday — an event that provides patients treated at the UPMC Mercy Gertrude P. and Donald C.W. Birmingham Trauma and Burn Center the opportunity to reunite with members of their care team and celebrate their survival.


“We are excited to welcome patients and their families to our 33rd annual Burn Survivor Sunday,” said Jenny Ziembicki, M.D., director, UPMC Mercy Burn Center. “This event is a great opportunity for patients and care providers to come together. It gives us a chance to see how far they’ve come and how they continue to grow.”


This year’s theme was “Around the World” and patients and families enjoyed a variety of international foods, balloon animals, therapy dogs, crafts, raffles and prizes.


The UPMC Mercy Burn Center was the first burn center in Pennsylvania, and one of the first in the U.S. As the only burn and level 1 trauma center under one roof in western Pa., UPMC Mercy has the ability to care for critically ill and injured patients. The center embraces a multidisciplinary approach that brings together experts in plastic surgery, wound care, rehabilitation and emotional support to assist burn patients and their families.


“The stories and experiences of these survivors empower and inspire not only other survivors, but everyone they come into contact with every day,” said Ziembicki. “They live with scars that serve as a constant reminder of their strength and all they have overcome.”


Former burn patients are given the opportunity to join  the Phoenix SOAR® program, a hospital-based, one-on-one peer support program that connects people with new burn injuries to survivors and family members who have been impacted by a burn injury.


UPMC Mercy Burn Center offers a wide variety of resources and injury prevention programs tailored to meet the needs of various groups or organizations. Some of the most notable programs include burn camp for pediatric patients at Camp Susquehanna, and the “Learn Not to Burn” prevention class offered to elementary school classes. To request a program at your school, contact the UPMC Mercy Burn Center at 412-232-8375.