Skin is the largest organ on our bodies, and it is designed to shield us from the elements. Skin regulates body temperature and protects us from infection, water loss, and injury. When skin is badly damaged from a burn injury, such as a thermal burn injury or electrical burn injury, the consequences can be severe. Find out what to expect if you or a loved one has suffered a serious burn injury.
Immediate and Emergency Treatment
Immediately after a burn injury occurs, remove clothing and debris from the burned area, then soak in water for 10-15 minutes. Do not attempt to remove clothing that is stuck to the skin, and do not apply water to burns that extend past the dermis (third-degree burns or higher). For serious burns, seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
Emergency treatment for serious burns typically includes managing pain and administering fluids to restore electrolyte balance. Patients with inhalation damage or burns to the face or upper body may need to be intubated.
Complications of Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can impact body function in many ways, some of which may be surprising. Burn victims will quickly lose water and their core temperature will drop. They may go into shock. Due to nerve damage, a third-degree burn may not be painful, but the healing process is. Infection poses a high risk to those with burn injuries. Scarring and disfigurement are likely to occur. Those that suffer very thick burns on their extremities often require amputation. Damage to the lungs or respiratory tract may leave them unable to eat or breathe on their own.
In addition to the “normal” horrors of a burn injury, some will also suffer complications. The most common complications associated with burn injuries include respiratory distress, infection, sepsis, pneumonia, and failure of the lungs, heart, or liver.
If the burn is not life threatening, the patient may be released to go home with a set of instructions which may include follow-up appointments, a medication regimen, dressing guidelines, and/or a surgical consultation. To prevent infection, do not use any ointments or home remedies unless instructed by a physician.
Those in need of intensive care may be transferred to a burn center. Burn centers may be a unit in the hospital or a separate care facility that provides around the clock critical care, as well as outpatient services. Medical staff will remove the burned, dead skin from the injured area. This process, called debridement, can be extremely painful. Fighting infection is an ongoing battle for burn patients. Patients may be treated with several rounds of antibiotics throughout the healing process. Victims of burn injuries often need skin grafts, reconstructive surgery, and/or prosthetics for lost limbs. They may require oxygen assistance to breathe and a feeding tube to eat. Long-term care for burns is comprehensive, often comprising of a team of physicians, surgeons, physical therapists, nutritionists, mental health counselors, and other medical professionals.
Reach Out to an Atlanta, GA Burn Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one is recovering from a serious burn injury caused by someone’s negligent behavior, contact the burn injury lawyers at the office of Walker Morgan. Call our office to schedule a free consultation.