Severe burn injuries often cause significant burn complications. Complications may be both physical and psychological. This article focuses on the physical complications. However, the psychosocial must be treated as well.
Complications Arising from Burn Injuries
- Infection. The risk of infection is always present once the skin has been broken and in severe burns, the infection risk is even higher. Bacterial infection and sepsis are a very real threat. Sepsis can lead to organ failure and shock.
- Problems of the joints and bones. Depending on the severity of the burn injury, a victim’s movement can be limited due to contraction of the tendons and muscles, skin tightening and shortening from scars. Some very deep burns may even impact the joints and bone.
- Low temperature. Since the skin helps to control the body’s temperature, if the burn covers a large area of skin, the victim could end up losing body heat. This loss of body heat is known as hypothermia. It means that the body is losing heat faster than it can produce it. Hypothermia itself can be life threatening in severe cases.
- Reduced blood volume. Severe burns cause damage to blood vessels which leads to a loss of fluids and consequent hypovolemia or low blood volume. Again, this can become a serious issue in and of itself as it impacts the amount of blood that is pumped blood through the body.
- Respiratory problems. Smoke inhalation can damage the lungs and lead to respiratory failure. Additionally, the hot air can also burn the airways causing difficulty breathing.
- Scarring. Burns often result in the formation of keloids and scars.
Treatment and Recovery
In recent years, the advancements in medicine have increased survival rates among burn victims. However, the treatment includes painful procedures and can last many years and even a lifetime. Second, third and fourth degree burns are quite traumatic and the treatment could include many years of cosmetic surgery as well. The goal is to help the victims get back to the point where normal function is possible. In some cases, amputation is necessary and the victim needs to learn how to live with the permanent disability that has resulted.
Some of the treatments include skin grafts, which are used to rectify scarred tissue. When it comes to facial burns, it may be necessary to include several cosmetic surgical procedures. All of this takes years to do and the burn victim and his or her family will need encouragement and emotional support along the way. If the burn victim was working, he or she may have to deal with loss of income as well.
All of this highlights the importance of finding an experienced burn injury lawyer who can help guide you through the legal process so you can focus on recovery for you and your family.