INTEGRIS Paul Silverstein Burn Center


In 1975, America ended the Vietnam war. "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest" nearly swept the Academy Awards. Designer blue jeans were a hot new trend.

And a 39-year-old doctor from Boston launched the first burn center in Oklahoma City.

That doctor was Paul Silverstein, M.D. While a Major in the U.S. Army from 1969 to 1972, Dr. Silverstein served at the prestigious U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research at Fort Sam Houston in  San Antonio, Texas. There he cared for military burn victims from the Vietnam conflict.

It was an experience that drove him to find ways to treat and care for perhaps the most painful and devastating injury people ever suffer.

The Kerr Foundation gave the effort to found a burn center in Oklahoma City a jumpstart by contributing $500,000 -- if a matching amount could be raised. Fundraisers approached companies that were at risk for fires because of the nature of their businesses (like oil companies or a gypsum board company in southwest Oklahoma) asking for contributions.

Burn centers have always been known as a costly venture. But Baptist Medical Center's leaders (among them former CEO Jay Henry and plastic surgeon Ed Dalton, M.D.) saw the clear need for a metro area burn treatment facility. They persisted, raising the money needed to modify an existing floor of Baptist Medical Center. The new burn center opened in November of 1975.

In 1989, the burn center expanded to include hyperbaric oxygen therapy. In 1995, an additional 12-place hyperbaric chamber was installed and a separate hyperbaric medicine and wound care center was established side-by-side with the burn center.

Today, the burn center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center is known across the nation as a center of excellence with a dedicated staff.

More than 5,000 patients in a six-state area have been treated at the center, along with another 10,000 outpatients. It is a 25-year legacy of compassion and leadership, a testament to the vision of doctors and nurses, hospital administrators and concerned business leaders.

Now, that legacy continues with a commitment to pushing the boundaries of burn care.