Limited facilities for treatment of burns

Updated - September 08, 2016 08:09 pm IST

Published - April 11, 2016 12:00 am IST

The Ernakulam district has limited facilities to treat burns in the event of a huge tragedy of the scale of the one that ripped Kollam on Sunday.

Burn units are operational only in major medical care institutions such as Government Medical College, Kalamassery, Medical Trust, Medical Centre, Lakeshore, Amrita, Lissie and General Hospital and their collective capacity does not exceed 50-70 beds.

S. Sachidananda Kamath, former president of the Kochi chapter of the Indian Medical Association, however, said this was more than adequate for normal times. It is not possible to maintain burn units in anticipation of massive tragedies and the only way out to meet the influx of injured is to convert rooms and wards into makeshift burn units.

In fact, Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram may be among the relatively well equipped districts in the State for the treatment of burns. It is a tough task to maintain burn units owing to the intensive infection prevention protocol, fluid management and the long recovery period. Not to mention the treatment for burn shock caused by fluid imbalance.

It is not feasible for smaller hospitals to maintain burn units considering that it calls for ICU-like facilities and the entailing staff pattern whether or not there is a constant flow of patients with burns. Treatment of burns is predominantly based on two calculations; the percentage of burns and its degree. “The higher these parameters, the more complicated will be the treatment,” Dr. Kamath said.

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