Patient Stories

Motivated Survivor Overcomes Burn Accident with New Skin Replacement Product

Feb. 4, 2020

At just 22 years old, Taylor Jenkins is a driven young man who enjoys spending time outdoors with his friends.

During the week, he studies communication at Boyce College in Louisville with aspirations to further his education in seminary school. While his hobbies and goals remain steady, his life changed in July 2019.

Traditionally, Taylor and his friends celebrate Fourth of July with a massive bonfire. When adding fuel to the bonfire, Taylor was accidentally exposed to a ring of fire. Diving away from the flames, a whirlwind of events soon followed.

“I fell down to get away from the flames and caught myself with my hands,” Taylor said. “I remember looking down and seeing it was already too late. I could see my skin hanging from my legs, which is just something you can’t even believe.”

Taylor’s friends kept telling him he was fine, but he knew he was not. Someone shined a light from their cell phone onto Taylor. Everyone was shocked. Taylor had been emphasizing that his skin was hanging from his legs, and now everyone could see it.

It was not long before Taylor was rushed to the nearest local hospital in Kentucky. Soon, doctors determined he suffered third degree burns on both legs from the knees all the way down to his ankles. He also had second degree burns on his arms and hands.

“My family was told that I should be in the hospital for two to three days,” said Taylor. “But there was not a burn unit close by, so I didn’t feel like I was getting the best advice. Fortunately, UC Health was able to airlift me to their burn center in Cincinnati. I feel very blessed.”

New Skin Replacement Product

 The Burn Center at UC Health is the region’s only adult burn center that provides subspecialized care for those affected by burn injuries. The care team at the Burn Center, located at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, has specially trained healthcare professionals qualified in burn management.

Elizabeth Dale, MD, UC Health plastic and reconstructive surgeon for UC Health and assistant professor of surgery for the UC College of Medicine, is the director of the Burn Center and oversaw Taylor’s care.

“After Taylor arrived at UC Health, we had to see how his burns would develop because it takes a few days to be able to determine the depth of burns,” said Dr. Dale. “Once we determined the depth, we began providing the treatment he needed to give him the best outcome.”

Taylor underwent three different procedures. His second procedure used biodegradable temporizing matrix (BTM). Burned areas are traditionally covered with skin grafts, which can become very stiff as they heal. As a solution, BTM replaces the deep skin layer, and this allows the healed skin to be soft and pliable instead of firm.

“BTM is a new skin replacement product that is making a dramatic improvement for patients who suffer from severe burns,” said Dr. Dale. “Given Taylor’s condition, BTM was a very good treatment option for him. It makes a big difference for patients’ ability to bend and straighten their joints, especially for fingers, elbows or knees.”

In total, Taylor spent about a month at UC Health to receive care. He credits the innovative treatment from the Burn Center along with the care team’s support for helping him get back to his life.

“UC Health’s Burn Center will always have a special place in my heart,” said Taylor. “On top of giving me the best care and treatment medicine can offer, they also helped begin my healing emotionally. Dr. Dale, the nursing team, everyone involved with my care were just so involved and helpful. It meant everything to me.”

Now, Taylor is back to being himself with inspiring life goals. He loves being outdoors and is currently planning to take his next trip to the Grand Canyon.