Following recognition by the National Academy of Burns-India (NABI) as a centre for training doctors in treating burn injuries, more patients are seeking the services of the Plastic Surgery Department of the Government Kilpauk Medical Hospital in the city.

At least eight to nine patients are admitted every day to KMC's Burns ward, which has only 50 beds. Its intensive care unit is always full. According to V. Jayaraman, head of the department, over 90 per cent of the patients come with more than 50 per cent burns and their survival rate is lower. The wards are also full as most patients have to stay at least three weeks in the hospital.

“Patients must stay until the wounds heal. While skin grafting takes 10 days to settle, it takes a week to 10 days to prepare a patient for surgery,” he said. Every year, at least 12 patients require hospitalisation for more than a month.

The Government Vellore Medical College Hospital recently set up a 10-bed burns ward and patients with burn injuries who are brought to the hospital are treated to a certain extent. But, as it does not have trained specialists, seriously injured patients are referred to the KMC after stabilising them for three days.

Often victims die despite reaching the tertiary care centre for want of immediate treatment.

“We have proposed a training schedule for doctors and nurses from other hospitals on the lines of that organised by the Plastic Surgery department of Stanley Hospital to treat hand injury patients,” Dr. Jayaraman said. But merely training doctors will not help as the wards must also be equipped with materials needed for treating patients.

“It is necessary to allocate funds to district headquarters hospitals to equip them with the necessary facilities, including drugs, dressing materials and trained personnel,” he added.

The department has also sought a building, the plan for which will be prepared with inputs from the Public Works Department.

During the conference organised by the NABI in January, Principal Health Secretary V.K. Subburaj said that the government proposed to set up a skin and tissue bank at the King Institute in Guindy at a cost of Rs.6 crore. It was also proposed to collect the amniotic waste from maternity hospitals and use them for treatment instead of the expensive collagen.

A Health Department official said that the proposed projects would take off after the results of the Assembly elections are declared.

Keywords: Plastic Surgery

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