The United States is known to treat one million burn cases every year. Even if the number of deaths and injuries due to fire has decreased over the years, the expenses for the treatment of burns have increased exponentially. Deaths due to fire are ranked as the fifth most leading reason for unintentional injury-causing deaths. We are more concerned about the 600 children under 14 who lose their fight to the fury of fire and 14000 others who face the misery of fighting it.
Burn injuries can be caused by a difference in factors. Some of the prominent burn injuries are caused by steam burns, contact burns, scales, and electrical burns which include lightning strikes, chemical and flash burns.60 to 80% of deaths due to fires are caused due to inhalation.
Burn injuries are divided into two broad categories: the number of body exterior burned and the deepness of the burn.
A common rule says the more the body surface is burned the less the chances of treating a person and the more he/she is susceptible to succumb to it. Depth of a burn can be gauged by the layers of skin affected as well as damage to the core structure. The more outward burns that involve the outer part of the body can be cured easily and heal without leaving scars. Partial-thickness burns involve the inner and outer part of the skin and take time to cure and can lead to scarring. Full-thickness injuries require intensive care and lead to severe scarring because they penetrate to the subcutaneous tissue and involve core structures like muscle, bone, and tendon.
Infection, dehydration, shock, electrolyte or fluid imbalance and tissue swelling that affect circulation and breathing are some of the problems that can be caused due to severe injuries. The medical field employs professionals who are skilled enough to gauge out the extent of the problem and treat complicated burn injuries accordingly. The affected that are severely burned are treated in special burn care centers.
Our statistics explain that burns are not rare events. They can, however, lead to shocking results. Burn injuries close up causing physical, emotional, psychological, and social distress. They require treatments that take a lot of time and the rehabilitation of the patient do end up costing a lot. It adds to the already overwhelming debt burden to the burn surviving patient.
A process is followed where initially support is provided to patients to endure burn injuries. When there are chances of survival a patient is supported for his treatment and is rehabilitated afterward. Severe injuries require intensive treatments and exhaustive hospitalization which is then followed by the patient’s rehabilitation. It would be foolhardy to forget the psychological and social stress caused by long-term treatments even after extensive physical care. Many questions arise out of this disablement for the patient and their family.
Who will take care of the person and who will pay for the expenses? What if there is permanent disablement? Will this injury lead to permanent disfigurement? What will be the impact on long term finances? What will be the long term impact of the injury? Will be people be able to take back their profession?
People neglect the legal cost concerning burn injuries. But legal support is required to help the burn survivor since it concerns their long term future and assist them financially by getting them reimbursement in cases where it was the fault of others. It would be beneficial to ask for legal help at the earlier stages so as to minimize the pressure on the patient and his family financially and psychologically.