Burn patients from Torrance Memorial Medical Center came together to celebrate their survival and the center's 40 years of extensive care for burn trauma victims in South Bay on Saturday, March 1. The Burn Center, one of two centers in LA County verified by the American Burn Association (ABA) and the Committee on Trauma (COT), honored the survival of former and current patients with a gathering of the center's founder, former patients, staff, representatives from various burn foundations, and local fire departments.
Scott Wheatley, former Hollywood stuntman and patient, spoke about his recovery after being a victim of a serious burn injury. Wheatley sustained first-, second- and third-degree burns to 67 percent of his body while working on the set of "Mission Impossible III." He spent four months in Torrance Memorial's burn unit and nine weeks in a drug-induced coma.
Additional speakers included 86-year-old William Dean Davies, M.D., who founded the center in 1973. Davies has seen the center through various community incidents, including refinery accidents, a tanker explosion in Los Angeles Harbor, and a plane crash at Los Angeles International Airport. Current Medical Director Vimal Murthy, M.D, also discussed the center's present and future.
"The thing that made the evening so poignant was the presence of so many of our former patients. That they gave of their time to join us really speaks volumes to their appreciation of our efforts." said Murthy. "In fact a number of the patients who attended are from the South Bay, which underscores just how important it is for our Burn Center to provide service to this great community."
The Manhattan Beach Fire Department and Torrance Fire Department presented iPads, toy fire trucks and radios for patients to enjoy, as well as checks that enable nurses to attend the upcoming ABA Annual Meeting in Boston.
Festivities included the presentation of a proclamation by Representative Steve Napolitano on behalf of Supervisor Don Knabe, Los Angeles County 4th District. Representatives from the Alisa Ann Rusch Burn Foundation, Children's Burn Foundation and Circle of Care were also on hand.
At its founding in 1973, Torrance Memorial's Burn Center was playfully named "7th Heaven" because of its location on the seventh floor of the hospital. The Center provides specialized care for hundreds of survivors of residential and industrial fires and accidents each year and is staffed by a highly trained multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, therapists, social workers and more—all committed to helping patients through each phase of recovery.