Lifesaving Care Leads to Lasting Commitment

Lifesaving Care Leads to Lasting Commitment - Gratitude Story

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Fifteen years ago, a fire in the kitchen of James Ballowe’s Alexandria home could have claimed his life. Instead, thanks to the dedicated team of providers in the Burn Center at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, the 63-year-old is living such a normal life that most people would never suspect what he went through.

James Ballowe

Although emergency responders arrived within minutes, Ballowe sustained second and third degree burns while attempting to contain the flames, and it was clear to the EMTs that Ballowe would need specialized care. He was airlifted to MedStar Washington Hospital Center, home to the only adult burn treatment center in the Washington metropolitan area.

Ballowe was in the ICU and on life support for nearly a week. Once his condition stabilized, he spent several more weeks hospitalized during which he endured numerous painful procedures, including harvesting skin from his legs to graft to his hands and arms where the burns were the most severe. He subsequently had three reconstructive surgeries followed by nearly two years of outpatient rehab therapy.

“Being a burn patient is not easy,” he notes. “But the care I received at the Burn Center throughout the long process was excellent.”

He had just completed rehab when he received a leadership award through his employer. It came with a monetary award that he could donate to the charities of his choice. He chose to give it all to the Burn Center and has been a supporter ever since.

So, when it came time to do his estate planning, he decided to include a significant gift to the Burn Center in his will. “I live a largely normal life today because of the care I received during that critical period,” Ballowe says. “I want to ensure that future burn victims get the specialized care they need too by helping to fund needed facility enhancements as well as the cutting-edge research being done there.”

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