Lisa’s Story: Burn Center a Blessing

On Dec. 6, 2009, Lisa Slocum was chilly, so she put on a soft, old flannel shirt. “It was too big for me, but it was warm,” Lisa recalls. She reached across her stove to check the corn on the cob, and the sleeve caught fire.

Initially, Lisa thought she could put the fire out herself, but it escalated, and before she knew it, she was engulfed in flames. Her daughter, Amber, heard her and ran into the kitchen. “I immediately thought of stop, drop and roll,” said Amber. But it didn’t work, it caught the rug on fire. Amber ended up calling 911.

Lisa was taken immediately to Miami Valley Hospital emergency department. Her first of several surgeries was 12 hours later. Lisa had third-degree burns over more than 20 percent of her body. The majority of her burns were confined to her right arm and torso.

Lisa said that shortly after her first surgery, her physical therapist showed up at her bed in the burn unit. “They were there right away. They wanted me to start moving. It hurt, but they were my buddies. They could tell if I was having a bad day or a good day.”

Dressing changes are part of burn recovery. They are painful and necessary. “They had dressing not only on my burns, but up and down my legs where they had taken the skin for my skin grafts. They changed them three times a day," remembers Lisa. “I’d hear the door open, and I just knew it was dressing change time. Oh, I hated that.”

Lisa can’t say enough positive things about the team on the burn unit. “They have big hearts, and always tried to make me comfortable no matter how much pain I was in. We are blessed to have a burn center like that in Dayton. If we didn’t, I might have had to go to Cincinnati or Columbus, and that would have been so hard on my family.”

The mother and grandmother of four stayed at the Miami Valley Hospital Adult Regional Burn Center for 30 days, and then went home where she received home care from Fidelity Home Care. “They sent someone to my home to change my dressings. “ With time, Lisa was ready to begin therapy at CORP (Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Program), an outpatient therapy program through Miami Valley Hospital’s Rehabilitation Institute of Ohio. “My therapists at CORP used to work on the burn unit, so they really understood my injuries.”

It’s been a year since her burn, and Lisa is doing well. She’s hoping to return to driving this spring so she can drive herself to CORP. “My daughter takes me there now. They are good down there, very, very good.” Lisa said it took a tragedy in her life to become aware of a blessing in the community. “We are very lucky to have that burn center here in Dayton. They are great people.”

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