What Complications Arise from Severe Burn Injuries?

Burns are common injuries that we get almost every summer. Of course, those are usually very mild first-degree burns from too much sun, but it is a burn nonetheless. That should not put us at ease, as more severe burns require immediate medical attention and treatment, and can lead to terrible complications. These complications can not only worsen the condition of the burn victim, but it very well may lead to their death.

You can suffer these types of severe burns via car accidents, contact with hazardous liquids, electrical malfunctions, and many other types of accidents. Even if the burn area is small, it is important that you seek treatment, as you may develop infections or suffer reactions that may lead to further injury or death.

What are the most common complications from severe burns?

Burns usually are categorized into three classifications: first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree burns. First-degree and second-degree burns, while painful and possibly scarring, do not usually lead to dangerous complications. Third-degree burns are serious injuries that require immediate medical attention and long hospital stays, so that the victim’s condition can be monitored lest it deteriorate from complications. These complications include:

  • Infections. When it comes to severe burn victims, infections are the main cause of death. Due to the unique injury that burns present, they are more likely to be infected than other wounds. According to the National Institutes of Health, “burns damage the skin’s protective barrier, meaning bacteria and other foreign invaders can sneak in. Burns also weaken the immune system, so the body is less able to fight off threats.”
    • Sepsis. When the body has a bad infection, the body can have an extreme response called sepsis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that “sepsis happens when an infection you already have triggers a chain reaction throughout your body. Infections that lead to sepsis most often start in the lung, urinary tract, skin, or gastrointestinal tract. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure, and death.”
    • Candidemia. Another common infection, especially in intensive care units, is invasive candidiasis. This infection is brought about by the bacteria Candida. Candidemia is the infection of the bloodstream by the bacteria and it is the most common form of invasive candidiasis. This infection often leads to long hospital stays and even death.
  • Hypovolemia. It makes sense that when you suffer from any burn, that some of your body’s natural moisture is depleted. That is why when we have a sunburn, it is important to put moisturizing lotion and creams on it to help it heal. Hypovolemia happens when you experience a severe burn that greatly diminishes your body’s extracellular fluid volume. Acute hypovolemia can lead to shock and require urgent fluid resuscitation and vasopressor support. If left untreated, hypovolemia can lead to heart attacks, liver failure, ischemic strokes, multi-organ failure and possibly death.
  • Stroke. When we think of burns, we do not usually think of strokes, but the unfortunate reality is that severe burns can lead to many complications throughout the entire body. When the blood supply to the brain is blocked, interrupted, or reduced, it can cause an ischemic stroke. When you are severely burned, your body loses fluid and water which your body needs in order to live. With less fluid in your body, your blood flow decreases greatly, which decreases blood and oxygen to your brain. Symptoms of a stroke include trouble speaking, paralysis or numbness of the face, arms, or legs, headache, trouble walking, and trouble seeing. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important that you seek medical treatment immediately.
  • Keloids/disfigurement. Even if you survive a severe burn injury, you can be left with scars that can be uncomfortable, disfiguring, and even painful. Keloids are a type of scar that is thick and raised. While these scars should not usually present any harm to you physically, it can affect you emotionally, psychologically, and socially. These scars can be a constant reminder of the trauma and pain you endured, and can make interacting socially among others more difficult. You may wish to talk to a dermatologist to seek treatment on lessening the appearance of these scars.

The emotional trauma of all these conditions and of the burn itself can be devastating, leading to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some victims may seek out psychological therapy to deal with the trauma of the experience, and with the continuing emotional stress of having to cope with the lasting effects and scars of their injury.

Not only that, but burn injuries may lead to losing your job due to your extensive hospital stays, if not losing paychecks from not being able to work. The costs of medical treatments can quickly deplete your financial savings.

Perhaps someone crashed into your car because they were texting; maybe your employer did not provide the necessary protective gear for your job; or perhaps a tool you were using malfunctioned when you plugged it into the outlet. Whatever the reason for your burn, if it was brought about by someone’s negligence (whether that be another driver’s or a manufacturer), then you deserve compensation for your pain, suffering, and financial loss. Burn injuries are excruciating, stressful, and tragic.

Let us fight for you, and do not settle for anything. The Kennewick burn injury attorneys at Telaré Law will ensure that you get every penny you deserve and need in order to continue your life as normally as possible. If you would like to schedule an appointment with an attorney at Telaré Law call us at 509-737-8500 or use our contact page. We maintain offices in Kennewick and Richland, and serve the Tri-Cities and all of Southeast Washington.

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