After pipeline explosion, UMC describes how burn unit operates


Four victims are still recovering in Lubbock a day after a gas pipeline explosion in Midland County. While the cause of the explosion is still unknown, Amanda Venable, director of the UMC Burn Unit, said burn victims are one of their most serious cases.

“I feel like a lot of people know that burns are painful, but that they are just as sick as anyone here,” said Venable. “In fact, in a lot of cases, they are the most serious cases in the hospital.”

Burn victims have to be immediately transported to University Medical Hospital, which has the only burn unit in the area.

“We’re a very busy burn center, actually the seventh busiest in the nation,” said Veneable. “We are also third in coverage for an area, so our beds are always full.”

This can make it difficult when the patients are far away from the hospital. UMC’s burn unit covers areas including east New Mexico, southern Kansas and west Oklahoma.

“It is a challenge,” said Venable. “That’s why we have ‘Advanced Burn Life Support,’ which can help patients as they are transported.”

Advanced Burn Life Support saves lives as it teaches EMTs what to do while transporting those patients to UMC. Venable says seeing these patients go from critical condition to healthy is what makes it all worth it.

“People think that it’s terrible working in a burn unit because of all the pain, but that is one of my favorite things,” said Venable. “I have the opportunity to make a difference and relieve people from their pain.”

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