FOR RELEASE: 11/22/2011Contact: John Cappiello, (203) 384-3637

Burn Center launches renovation campaign, new name: The Connecticut Burn Center

To underscore its unique role as a statewide resource, Connecticut’s only burn center has a new name—The Connecticut Burn Center—and has launched a $1.5 million renovation campaign aimed at upgrading its surroundings at Bridgeport Hospital for patients, their families and staff. The project is expected to be completed in mid-2012.

“We want to move into the 21st century to provide a more private, comfortable, very functional environment for our patients and their families,” says John Schulz, MD, the Burn Center’s Medical Director.

The Burn Center was established in 1973 with fundraising help led by then Chairman of Surgery Andrew Panettieri and his wife Henrietta. The Panettieris’ efforts were motivated by a chemical plant explosion in Stratford that injured several workers. At the time, the Center was one of only 10 dedicated burn care facilities in the United States. Even today, there are fewer than 60.

The Burn Center’s last major renovation took place in the 1999, when improvements were made to its critical care wing. The new renovation project will focus on the Burn Center’s sub-acute wing and, at the recommendation of many Connecticut firefighters, will include the addition of an overnight hospitality suite for families of patients.

In addition, patient rooms in the wing will be redesigned for greater privacy and comfort, the Center’s rehabilitation room and specially equipped shower room will be renovated and the nursing station will be enlarged to provide more space for staff to perform their duties.

“The overnight suite will provide a comfortable place for family members of patients to stay at the hospital,” says Burn Center Nurse Manager Jacqueline Laird. “We have critically burned patients whose families are here with them 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“To have your family with you means everything,” says retired pilot Paul Hagopian, who was a Burn Center patient after he was critically burned in a 1994 plane crash. “A family suite would be wonderful.”

Hagopian is one of the Burn Center patients featured in a video produced to promote the fundraising campaign. The video was suggested by Steve Lupinacci, President of the Stratford Professional Firefighters Burn Foundation, to reach key Burn Center supporters in the firefighting community. It is available on You Tube or via a link on the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation website, The video also includes comments by the Burn Center staff and Connecticut firefighters who have been active in providing financial support to the Center through a variety of initiatives.

U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman appears in the video and calls the Burn Center “an extraordinary, world class facility that provides critical medical services to people in Connecticut and beyond.”

For more information about the Burn Center campaign, call the Bridgeport Hospital Foundation at 203-384-3522 or visit the Foundation website.

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Part of Yale New Haven Health System, Bridgeport Hospital is a 383-bed acute care hospital (plus 42 beds licensed to Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital) serving parts of Fairfield and New Haven counties. The hospital admits more than 18,000 patients and receives more than 240,000 outpatient visits annually.