Experts


Dr. Robert Mullins (Augusta, GA)
MEDICAL DIRECTOR & PRESIDENT / JOSEPH M. STILL BURN CENTERS

Dr. Mullins runs the largest burn center in the U.S. and makes a point of evaluating and treating every burn patient who is admitted, often as many as ten to fifteen a day.

“The youngest patient I’ve treated is three days old and the oldest is 105 years. We have a survival rate of 98.6%.”

The importance of families being involved in the recovery process is critical, he says, because of the emotional and psychological support they can provide – even when that patient is in a medically-induced coma.

“If you were stuck in a room in a semi-comatose state and no one ever came to visit you what would be
your reason to live?”

Dr. Mullins believes that a patient’s will to live and determination to get better has a profound effect on the speed of their recovery.

“Your mind controls everything that goes on in your body and
if you don’t want to get better it can take you a long time.”

Dr. Sigrid Blome-Eberwein (Allentown, PA)
BURN TRAUMA/RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON

“When a patient enters our Burn Center, we consider it at least a five year contract. We stay with them
and help them find their way.”

Dr. Blome-Eberwien has a passion for helping burn survivors get back on their feet. She leads a holistic, integrated recovery program that goes beyond the patient’s injuries and physical recovery. “It’s not enough to just help with social skills or scar management,” she says. “We need to provide comprehensive support, whether someone is recovering from a big or a small burn.”

Captain David Connor (San Diego, CA)
SAN DIEGO FIRE DEPARTMENT

“When you see what these kids have gone through,
you just canʼt stop yourself from crying.”

In his 27 years fighting fires, Captain David Connor has seen it all but he discovered that no matter how tough you think you are, working with burn survivors, particularly children, touches the heart in an ineffable way. Connor provides a sobering reality check about fire hazards and consequences in an accessible and appealing way.

Lesia Cartelli (50, San Diego, CA)
ANGEL FACES

At age nine, Lisa Cartelli was visiting her grandparents when her world was ripped apart – literally. A natural gas explosion destroyed the house and left Lesia with burns to half her face and body.

But her indomitable spirit helped her through the heartache of living with unsightly scarring and inspired her to start Angel Faces, a national, non-profit organization that helps girls with severe burns and facial disfigurements achieve their optimum potential.

“I tell them trouble has come your way – you need to honor it, accept it and move on.
Donʼt stay in that pain, because it will cripple you.”

Dr. John Schulz (Bridgeport, CT)
BURN TRAUMA SPECIALIST

“Why do I do this? To see patients who had devastating injuries get better and move on with their lives.”

Whether dealing with a scalded toddler, a teenager who accidentally falls into a beach fire pit, or a passenger pulled from a burning vehicle, Dr. John Schulz has seen and effectively treated every type of burn imaginable. He is the Associate Chairman of the Department of Surgery and the Chief of the Burn and Trauma Critical Care Center at Bridgeport Hospital.

Dr. Jill Waibel (Miami, FLA)
PIONEERING DERMATOLOGIST

“Lasers are the greatest thing ever invented –
theyʼre just like an eraser, like magic.”

Every day Jill Waibel asks herself; “How can I help them?” A pioneer in the use of laser technology to heal burn scars, Dr. Waibel has transformed the lives and spirits of burn survivors across the country, giving them hope where before there was none.

Amy Acton (Grand Rapids, MI)
THE PHOENIX SOCIETY

Amy Acton, the Executive Director of the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors is a burn survivor herself, who has 13 years experience as a burn nurse and manager. She has dedicated her career to working with burn survivors because of her own personal experience as a survivor of an electrical burn injury in 1981.

“I think that the goal in our culture is to redefine what beautiful is. There’s a shift happening in our culture. There’s beauty in this difference. There’s beauty in the triangles of my graft or in my trach[eotomy] or in my little dent in my shoulder. There’s beauty there. When we can feel the beauty.”

Dr. Michael McClellanDr. Michael McClellan (Media, PA)
BURN RECONSTRUCTIVE SURGEON
/PLASTIC SURGEON

Dr. Michael McClellan was on call the night John Capanna was brought in on October 1979. Back then, most 90% burns didn’t make it, but luckily, John did. Seventy-two surgeries later – all performed by Dr. McClellan – the doctor and patient share a unique life-long bond.

“I never sign off on a burn injury patient. It’s constant. Scars can change and patients can need surgery way down the road. It is extremely rewarding work and I look forward to doing it the most.”

Liz Dideon Hess (Allentown, PA)
CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER

A burn survivor herself, Liz Dideon Hess brings valuable credibility to her job as a clinical social worker working with burn patients and their families at the LeHigh Valley Hospital Burn Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

“Using my own story is a very powerful way to connect with new patients who often can’t believe there’s a life after a bad burn. Seeing somebody else like me with a major burn injury who has a job, is happily married, comfortable and confident can be really inspiring.”