In the United States, one million burn cases are treated every year. In 2006 alone, 3,245 lives were lost due to fires, and an additional 16,400 people injured. 600 children under 14 lost their lives to fire, and 14,000 others still face the misery of fighting their injuries. Although the numbers of deaths and injuries due to fire have decreased over the years, burn treatment expenses have increased exponentially. Deaths due to fire are ranked the fifth most leading cause for unintentional injury causing deaths.
Burn injuries come from a variety of factors. Some prominent burn injuries result from steam burns, contact burns, scalds, and electrical burns, which include lightning strikes, chemical, and flash burns. Sixty to 80 percent of deaths due to fire are due to inhalation.
Burn injuries are classified into two broad categories: amount of body exterior burned and deepness of the burn. A common rule says the more the body surface is burned, the less the chances are of treating a person and the more they are susceptible to succumb to their burns. Depth of a burn can be gauged by layers of the skin affected as well as damage to core structure. 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 the outer part of the skin and take time to cure. These can lead to scarring. Full thickness burns 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 result from severe injuries. The medical field employs professionals skilled enough to gauge the extent of these problems and treat complicated burn injuries accordingly. Severely burned individuals are treated in special burn care centers.
Our statistics show that burns are not rare events. They can, however, lead to shocking results. Burn injuries end up causing physical, emotional, psychological, and social distress. They require treatments that take a lot of time, and rehabilitation of the patient ends up being costly, which adds to the already overwhelming debt burden of the burn-surviving patient.
Support is initially provided to patients to begin the process of enduring burn injuries. When there are chances of survival, a patient is treated and rehabilitated afterwards. Severe injuries require intensive treatments and exhaustive hospitalization, which is then followed by rehabilitation. In addition to physical care, patients must then deal with the psychological and social stress caused by long-term treatment.
Many questions arise from the patient and their family out of this disablement. 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 long-term impact on finances? What will be the long-term impact of the injury? Will this person be able to take back their profession?
People initially neglect the idea of legal assistance concerning burn injuries because of cost. However, legal assistance is required to help burn survivors, since it affects their long-term future. Legal assistance can help financially by getting them reimbursement in cases where it was the fault of others. It would be beneficial to ask for legal help during the earlier stages to minimize financial and psychological pressure on the patient and their family.
October 13, 2015