Since opening 1974, the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview has treated nearly 20,000 patients, including almost all burn patients in Washington and many from Alaska, Idaho and Montana. Of those patients one-third has been children.
Harborview was one of the first hospitals to adopt the approach of early removal of burned tissue.
We were also the first site of a major clinical trial for a temporary artificial skin graft, a technology that helps some burn survivors recover faster with fewer surgeries.
The survival rate for patients treated at Harborview's burn center is over 97 percent. Most of our seriously injured patients are back at work within a few months, and we strive to get children back to school as quickly as possible.
To provide support for the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview and the Play to Heal program please visit
supportuwmedicine.org/play2healPhysician Referrals to the Burn Center
Our program's effectiveness is largely due to its team approach. General surgeons work closely with plastic surgeons to help patients recover more quickly and get back to their lives.
In addition to core medical staff, our multidisciplinary group also includes specialists in the following areas:
Physical and occupational therapists
Specialized nursing staff
Vocational rehabilitation therapists
Operating room nurses and scrub techs
The UW Medicine Regional Burn Center also treats patients with severe skin diseases, such as a skin-sloughing disorder known as toxic epidermal necrolysis, purpura fulminans and necrotizing fascitis.
Toxic epidermal necrolysis — a drastic loss of skin possibly due to a bad reaction to drugs — previously had a 20 percent survival rate. By employing UW Medicine’s Regional Burn Center standard operating procedures, we’ve improved the survival rate to 80 percent.
Level I Trauma Center
All trauma centers are designated with levels to ensure that facilities have the resources, organizations and expertise to provide the best care for injured patients. Harborview is the only Level I adult and pediatric trauma center in Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho.
A Level I trauma center provides the highest level of care, around the clock for injured patients from resuscitation through rehabilitation. Emergency physicians, surgeons, surgical specialists, nurses, anesthesiologists and other professionals are always in house and available to provide immediate care.
Since its inception, the UW Medicine Regional Burn Center has trained more than 30 burn surgeons, many of whom have become leaders in the American and international burn community. Each year, we host international research fellows, nurses and therapists who want to better understand our model of patient care.
In addition to excellent clinical care and education, research is a vital part of our mission. Since burn center was founded nearly 40 years ago, our faculty members have obtained more than $25 million from NIH, NIDRR, industry and local firefighters grants. Our projects range from basic research on inflammatory responses and injuries to bedside trials for improving infection control, pain management, wound healing and metabolism.
Prevention and Outreach
The UW Medicine Regional Burn Center at Harborview also educates the community about burn prevention and treatment.
UW Medicine Regional Burn Center physicians and staff visit schools, businesses and fire departments as part of outreach efforts focused on burn prevention and safety. They also instruct local children and teachers how to welcome back a classmate who has been burned.
In addition, our staff have worked with Washington State firefighters to encourage legislators to ban the sale of novelty lighters, which can easily be confused for toys, cell phones, flashlights or other small tools.
To have a representative come to your school or business, please contact the burn center outreach coordinator at 206.744.3139.
For more information about our physicians and patient care, please see the trauma and burn section of the UW Medicine Department of Surgery.