Burn injuries are making the news quite a bit these days: first, there was the story of the three dozen or so “fire-walkers” at a recent Tony Robbins life-improvement seminar who were rushed to local emergency rooms for treatment of burn injuries to their feet after they tried to walk over hot coals. See, NPR’s coverage in the article,”Fire-Walkers At Motivational Seminar Treated For Minor Burn Injuries.”
Then there were the burn injuries being reported at local hospitals in Indianapolis, as well as the rest of Indiana and Illinois, after Fourth of July festivities resulted in celebrations gone bad as exploding fireworks caused all sorts of burns — some of them very serious, like the ones suffered by Hoosier Nathan French as reported by the local Indianapolis Fox Station, see “Local Hospitals Seeing Patients With Burn Injuries From Fireworks.”
Finally, there was the news report that the Governor of the State of Texas had sustained severe burns to his legs and feet and would not be able to attend the funerals for the Dallas police officers shot down last week. It’s not clear from news reports exactly how these burns were caused, other than they were caused by scalding water. It is known that the governor has been handicapped and unable to walk for many years, after suffering an accident back in the 1980s that left him without the use of his legs. Additionally, it’s been confirmed that his burns are serious and will require one or more surgeries. See Breitbart’s coverage in “Texas Governor Hospitalized, Forced to Miss Dallas Police Funerals.”
Causes of Serious Burn Injuries
Representing victims of serious burn accidents in their legal fight for justice, personal injury lawyers are privy to the special and unique horrors that burn victims must endure in their recovery process. The healing takes much longer than anyone wants; the pain is excruciating — even for minor burns, pain levels can be high.
Another horror in these situations: all the different ways that someone’s neglect or mistake can cause a serious or fatal burn injury. Most people think of fires when they think of a severe burn injury, and it is true that most burn victims are the victims of flame. However, burn injuries can also be caused by other things, like chemicals or electricity.
Here’s a list of various ways that someone can suffer a serious burn injury:
1. Fire (from any flame, including those used in construction or industrial work like welding)
2. Steam from boiling liquid (not necessarily water)
3. Hot objects (like engines in a car or truck; irons; tools used on a construction site)
4. Hot liquids (including hot soups at a restaurant or hot industrial glues at a plant facility)
5. Ice (cold burns from skin exposure)
6. Electrical current (electricity flowing through tools used on the job, tools used at home or school, etc.)
7. Lightning (natural electricity)
8. Chemicals (including acids and gases used in manufacturing, mining, and industrial facilities)
9. Radiation (this can include radiation therapy as well as from tanning booths, X-rays, etc.)
10.Friction (motor vehicle accidents can cause friction burns where the victim is thrust against the asphalt, pedestrians; bicyclists; and motorcyclists are prone to friction burns in crashes).
Burn Injuries: Severe Harm to the Human Body
The reason that burn injuries are so serious and damage claims involving burn victims can be so high is because these are severe and long-term injuries to the human body. First of all, the skin is involved, and in a severe burn the skin is destroyed.
This leaves the nerve endings exposed, which means that the burn victim will suffer extreme and for many of us unimaginable pain during his treatment and healing.
Doctors categorize burns in four degrees, as the burn goes deeper into the body. Burns that are deemed “first-degree burns” are the least severe. They involve burns to the skin’s surface and only the surface skin is destroyed in the burn.
Burns considered to be “second degree” are deeper than the skin surface but not all of the skin layers have been burnt. In “third-degree burns,” all skin layers have been destroyed and skin grafts will be needed.
The most serious burn is a “fourth-degree burn.” This burn has destroyed everything from the surface skin all the way down to the bone itself.
And it’s not just the pain from the burn, or the need for the human body to recover and regenerate itself. There’s also the real problem of infection for burn victims. The skin is the organ that protects against invasion of toxins and bacteria — and with the skin destroyed, the inner body (tissue, organs, etc.) are vulnerable to air-borne bacteria that can cause serious infections and even death.
In fact, physicians and health care professionals are known to consider not only the treatment process of a burn victim but the human-factor as well in determining their course of treatment. Recovering from a severe burn injury is so very, very painful and intense that evaluations are made regarding the patient and quality of life, and likelihood of recovery when assessing what to do regarding a burn victim.
Statistics show that, for example, a burn victim over the age of 60 years with burns over 40% of their body and burn injuries involving inhaling heated air has a greater than 90% chance of dying as a result of their burn injuries. Should there be painful and excruciating treatment of this victim, or should they be kept as comfortable as possible?
Mercy is often involved in the decisions being made by physicians and family members in the aftermath of a serious burn accident.
Burns can happen from all sorts of accidents in all kinds of circumstances. Auto accidents, motorcycle crashes, on the job injuries at construction sites or plants or mills, the list can go on and on. Severe burns can happen in school cafeterias (children scalded by hot liquids, for instance) or at sporting events (e.g., lightning strikes on the golf course).
For these victims and their families, the need for justice is paramount particularly when these burns have resulted from the negligence or bad conduct of another.
There can be nothing more tragic that a burn injury in a serious accident. Let’s be careful out there!