Patients of all ages come through the Leon S. Peters Burn Center at Community Regional Medical Center. A few months ago, a 48-year old woman with disabilities was seen after burning herself in the bath tub. Her family said she is healing well today thanks to the staff at the Burn Center.
The relationship between Dr. Nicole Kopari and Lisa Bryan is now of a true friendship. Kopari first met Lisa, when she came in with second and third degree burns on her lower body.
Lisa’s mother Vicki Bryan explains, “She [Lisa] had wet the bed, and she was trying to be normal. It was in the middle of the night and she got up and started the water in the bathtub by herself.”
When Lisa was seven, doctors determined she was neurologically disabled. Now, at the age of 48, she has the capacity of a young child and her thought process is delayed. Therefore, when she laid in the scalding hot water, her mother said, “She started getting blisters on her bottom.”
Lisa hadn’t realized her injuries until it was too late.
“When she started burning, she screamed out and I went running in there immediately and saw what was going on, turned on the cool water. My husband was there, he came immediately, we got her out of the water, we were patting her,” said Vicki.
Kopari said it only takes five seconds for the skin to deeply burn in hot water.
“She had extensive burns, actually kind of on her, in the typical pattern of patient who sat in a bathtub… burns kind of on her butt and her postterior thighs and also around her ankles,” stated Kopari.
Treating Lisa was going to be a challenge.
Kopari commented, “She often does better in her home environment because she’s used to those kind of people. And so having nursing staff and physicians in and out of her room constantly, causes a lot of anxiety for her and a lot of mistrust, so it really took time for us to get to know what her likes were and even for her to trust us to give her medications and things like that was kind of a work in progress.”
Kopari and her highly skilled team built that trust with Lisa and her family.
“We didn’t know what to expect.We didn’t know what the outcome was going to be, how serious it was, what it was going to involve with her,” Vicki recalled.
Kopari said, “We really pride ourselves on being a multi-disciplinary team, and what we do is we offer kinda a whole array of input for our patients. We’re not only taking care of the patient, but we’re taking care of their families.”
Under the care of Kopari and her team, Lisa’s severe burns were treated without surgical intervention and she was hospitalized for less than two weeks.
“I’ve had really bad experiences with healthcare workers, and they [at the Leon S. Peters Burn Center] are the best. The best! All of them took time to be with her and to be with us and to comfort us,” said Vicki.
Because life with a child who has developmental disabilities is not easy. Vicki stated, “At times, it’s been just chaotic and flying by the seat of our pants, and doing the best thing we can do for all of our children.”
Vicki was taught how to change the dressing on Lisa’s burns, so her daughter can recover at home. That is one of the criteria it takes for a burn patient to be discharged.
Kopari said, “I think she has incredible family and an incredible family support.”
Vicki calls the staff of the Leon S. Peters Burn Center absolutely outstanding. She said they made the best out of a bad situation, and have now built a lasting bond with her daughter.
“My daughter Lisa is an angel… She has an incredible amount of love inside her. She’s just a wonderful blessing for our family,” ended Vicki.
With the only ’round-the-clock, comprehensive burn center between Los Angeles and Sacramento, the Leon S. Peters Burn Center treats patients within 15,000 square miles. If you would like to donate to make more programs like this one possible, visit, click here.