The Incidence of Severe Burns is Decreasing. Here's Why. - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on June 01, 2016

The Incidence of Severe Burns is Decreasing. Here's Why.

Crozer-Keystone Health SystemMedia Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314
Katrina.Stier@crozer.org

Crozer-Keystone offers a range of classes and community outreach programs to convey the importance of preventing burn injuries.

Crozer-Keystone offers a range of classes
and community outreach programs to convey
the importance of preventing burn injuries.

Severe burns have a catastrophic impact on burn victims – they have an immense impact on a victim’s quality of life, suffering, disability, finances and, potentially, can result in death. According to the American Burn Association, there are 486,000 burn injuries receiving medical treatment in the United States per year; however, most of them are minor and are treated primarily in an emergency department.

During the last two decades, deaths resulting from burn injuries have decreased – of hospitalized burn patients, only about three percent succumb to their burn injuries.

The decline in severe burn deaths is linked to a few factors, including improved firefighting techniques and the use of smoke detectors. In fact, the use of smoke detectors is credited with an estimated 80 percent decline in burn deaths and 74 percent reduction in residential fire injuries over the last several decades.

Unquestionably, improved emergency medical services are another factor that has played a significant role in the decline in severe burn deaths.

Burns are extremely complex injuries and can affect a lot more than the skin, sometimes involving all major organ systems. Treating severe burns and helping a burn victim recover takes a team, including critical care surgeons, plastic surgeons, specialized nurses, psychologists, pediatricians, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers, nutritionists and more.

“We’re very fortunate at Crozer-Keystone Health System to have a talented, cohesive team in our Burn Center,” says Linwood Haith Jr., M.D., co-director of the Nathan Speare Regional Burn Treatment Center at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, also known as the Crozer Burn Center.

The severe burns themselves can cause death, but so can serious subsequent infections – improvements in surgical therapy, wound care and burn dressings also play a role.

One of the best treatments of burn injuries is prevention, which is why educational programs are also part of the equation that reduced severe burn deaths. For many years, the Crozer Burn Center has offered a range of interactive classes and educational sessions for various audiences, from students to seniors. Information is presented through various mediums, including videos, safety games, lectures, slides and discussion. The Center also offers training programs for healthcare students and professionals, including Advanced Burn Life Support and emergency management and transport of the burn patient.

“Not only are they great at what they do in emergencies, but the entire team is dedicated to educating the community, something we feel that has helped to reduce the number of severe burn injuries,” says Mary Lou Patton, M.D., co-director of the Crozer Burn Center.

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