Roles of a trauma nurse

Burn center in east Georgia embarks on a major expansion

Doctors Hospital in Augusta is embarking on a $75 million expansion of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center.

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Hospital officials say it will double the number of patient rooms as well as build a six-level, 550-space parking deck.

The project is the largest investment at the hospital since it was built in 1973, The Augusta Chronicle reported .

Doctors Hospital CEO Doug Welch says a new three-story tower will allow for all burn and wound patients to be treated under a single roof. The 70 beds dedicated to burn and wound patients have been in three separate areas of the hospital.

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The Joseph M. Still Burn Center treats patients from throughout the South.

One of its former patients, Katie Cook, was flown to the center from Seneca, South Carolina, in 2014 after her then-husband doused her with gasoline and set her on fire. He is serving a life sentence in prison.

Cook arrived with third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body and spent four of her seven months at the facility in a medically-induced coma.

"I don't think I would have made it if it had happened anywhere else in the country," Cook said after taking part in a recent ceremonial groundbreaking for the expansion.

The Minnesota native, who has since relocated to Augusta, had her 5-month-old baby with her. Doctors initially told her she would never be able to have children.

"The doctors told me it would be improbable due to all the trauma," she said. "But they fixed me up better than they knew."

The 102,000-square-foot burn center facility is expected to open next summer.

The expansion will double the number of operating rooms from four to eight and increase the space for pre-operative and post-operative care.

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Information from: The Augusta Chronicle , http://www.augustachronicle.com

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