In one brief moment, your life changed forever. You may have been going about your daily routine at home or work, or perhaps you and your family were out together enjoying a special event in Florida when tragedy struck and your loved one suffered a serious burn injury.
You may never forget the image of the fear and pain in your loved one’s eyes as paramedics placed him or her in the ambulance or helicopter. Now you may be feeling a confusing mix of emotions, including worry over what the future might bring and anger that the senseless accident could have been prevented.
Classifying burn wounds
The medical team may have given you some information about your loved one’s condition and the level of burn he or she suffered. The depth of the burn and the percentage of your loved one’s body that the burn affected will play a role in the type of treatment doctors provide and the outlook you can expect for your loved one.
In the past, medical professionals classified burns by degree, with a first-degree burn affecting only the top layers of skin, and fourth and higher penetrating the full depth of the skin, perhaps even to the bone. Doctors these days may refer to a burn by its thickness, for example:
- Superficial partial
- Deep partial
- Full thickness
When a burn reaches deep partial thickness, there may be little pain in the affected area because the burn may destroy the endings of the nerves.
Treatment and complications
If your loved one required medical attention and hospitalization, it is likely the burns were deep and covering more than 15 percent of his or her body. The treatment for such burns may include systematically removing the damaged skin and potentially attempting skin grafts on the affected area.
Mainly, doctors will be concerned about preventing infection since the skin is the body’s main barrier against germs. Additionally, the dead tissue surrounding the burn may encourage the growth of dangerous microbes. Other complications may include:
- Lack of blood flow to the affected area
- Difficulty regulating body temperature, which may lead to hypothermia
- Progression of the wound to a deeper thickness
As difficult as it may be to hear, the future for your loved one is likely filled with painful medical procedures, permanent disfigurement and diminished quality of life, depending on the extent of the burn wounds. If all of this occurred because of someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, you have every right to feel angry at the unfairness. You may even determine that legal counsel can provide you with a plan for ensuring your loved one receives the medical care he or she deserves.