Many burn patients die in the first 48 hours owing to inappropriate primary management

Given the inadequacy for treating burns, it is unfortunate that even among doctors there is a lot of unawareness regarding the same. The need for primary burns treatment is a matter of discussion since a very long time. However, doctors now say that if this problem is solved, a lot of lives could be saved 

Many burn patients die in the first 48 hours owing to inappropriate primary management

Many lives could be saved in the country if there was adequate primary management specifically in terms of burns patients, say doctors.

Let’s take the case of Sheetal Patkar (name changed). Had she been treated on time, she could have been alive, say doctors.

“The problem is that most of these patients are treated by nearby clinics and doctors, who are not adequately trained to treat burns,” said Dr Rajesh Pawar, Professor and Head of the Department of Plastic Surgery, Jawaharlal Nehru (KLE) University and Medical College, Belgaum.

Patkar was a housewife in Belgaum, who on one occasion got burnt in the lower half of her body after a cylinder burst at her residence. As anyone else in her place would do, she was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Had Patkar come to the hospital on time, her life could have been saved. “Patkar was bought to us almost five days ago after she suffered from burns, unfortunately her internal organs such as lungs and kidneys had failed and she passed away. The first three or four hours following burns are very important,” added Dr Pawar.

Given the inadequacy for treating burns, it is unfortunate that even among doctors there is a lot of unawareness regarding the same.

Dr Sunil Keswani, Medical director of National Burns Centre said, “There is total ignorance in terms of fluid resuscitation and primary management of major burns. Therefore, a lot of burn patients die in the first 48 hours due to inappropriate primary management. It’s important to understand that the reason we have to conduct corrective surgeries is because even doctors are quite inadequately trained when it comes to burns.”

Dr Nilesh Satbhai, Consultant Plastic, Aesthetic, Hand and Reconstructive Micro surgeon at Global Hospitals, Parel said, “It is mandatory that all cases of burns are adequately resuscitated. Appropriate and adequate hydration of the patient in the first 6 hours (‘golden period’) is very essential and it determines the final outcome to a major extent. Early surgical intervention can also be life saving at times. All doctors associated with burns management should ideally have ‘Basic Life Support’ training. With appropriate primary wound management, the need for secondary corrective surgery can be minimised.”