When a burn patient needs physical and financial assistance, he finds many willing to help.

Burn patient receives assistance

Chester Bailey Hr Burn Trauma Sngh

As a volunteer firefighter, Chester “Chet” Bailey knew it was a bad idea to use flammables to start a fire, but while helping his neighbor burn trash, he did. An explosion created a flash fire that resulted in second-  and third-degree burns covering half of Chet’s body. His neighbor was also burned, but less severely.

Chet’s firefighter buddies responded to the 911 call. He was airlifted to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital Burn Trauma Center. 

“When I woke up, I didn’t know where I was,” Chet said. “I thought I was going to die.” 

Relying on his “rescue” team

Slowly, Chet made progress.

“At first I got a little scared when I saw the therapist and said I couldn’t do the exercises,” he remembers, “but she said that if I did everything she said, I would be OK.”

With hard work and the help of Sentara therapists and nurses, Bailey was ready to go home in a month with custom-made pres­sure garments to reduce scarring.

Once again, firefighters came to his rescue.

The Red Knights Motorcycle Club is an organization for firefighters who raise money for the Sentara Patient Assistance Burn Fund. People like Chet, who had no health insur­ance because he was unemployed, or those whose insurance doesn’t cover all the costs, receive assistance for the garments, as well as for soaps, ointments and dressings.

Sentara also helps uninsured burn patients by providing free care through a special burn clinic at Sentara Norfolk General. Suzanne Kellam, RN, burn clinician, says the clinic provided free services to 170 patients one year.

“I have respect for the Sentara therapists and nurses,” says Chet. “I was amazed at their kindness and support.”

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