Kansas City Townsend Law Firm

Third degree burns: A very difficult injury to cope with

On Behalf of | Jan 15, 2018 | Personal Injury

Many different accidents can lead to catastrophic burns. Motor vehicle accidents, including those on motorcycles or involving semi-trucks, can lead to burns that cause permanent disfigurement.

Burns are categorized by degrees. A third-degree burn is one of the most serious. This injury is called a full thickness burn because it destroys not only the top layer of the skin but the layer beneath it.

Signs and symptoms of a full thickness burn

A full thickness burn has a leathery appearance. The skin will appear yellow, white, brown or black. The area will be swollen and dry. You might not even realize that there is a problem because the nerve endings have been destroyed.

There isn’t going to be any skin or hair in the area. Hair follicles and the epidermis are completely destroyed when a third-degree burn occurs.

Medical care for third degree burns

You need immediate medical care for a third-degree burn. The extent of the damage means that no new skin or hair will grow. An evaluation needs to be done right away to determine what type of treatment protocol is necessary.

Typically, you will get intravenous fluids that contain electrolytes. Some doctors will also give you antibiotics because the infection is a serious risk when you have a burn of this magnitude.

Often, patients with a third-degree burn that encompasses a large area of the body will be transferred to a specialized burn center for treatment. This presents them with a medical team familiar with the treatment of severe burns and the equipment necessary to provide optimal treatment.

A lengthy recovery

The road to recovery after a third-degree burn is a long one. The area might need to be debrided, which means that the dead tissue is removed to improve healing. This is a painful procedure that is done in a special tub or in the operating room, depending on the circumstances.

Since there isn’t any chance that skin will regrow in the area, a skin graft might be necessary. This means that skin is taken from a donor site on your body and transplanted to the burned area, called the graft site.

A special diet high in protein is usually ordered during the recovery process to help give the body the fuel it needs to aid healing. Other treatments may also be necessary.

Overall, this is a horrible injury to recover from but don’t lose faith as people can and do go on to live fulfilling and happy lives, despite such a traumatic experience and injury. The time you need to take off of work and the cost of care will need to be addressed, and, thankfully, there are legal channels available.