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When Is a Burn Victim Transferred to a Burn Center?

If you are burned in an industrial accident or a collision, the severity of your burns determines whether you should be transferred to a burn center.

Burns requiring the specialized care these centers can offer to include:

  • Burns that are partially thick and cover more than 10 percent of the body’s total surface.
  • All third-degree burns.
  • Kids with burns in hospitals that don’t have the proper equipment or personnel who are qualified to care for that age group.
  • Burns to the hands, feet, major joints, face, perineum or genitalia.
  • Burns from electrical sources (lightning included).
  • Inhalation injuries.
  • Chemical burns.
  • Burns to patients who have preexisting medical conditions that might complicate the treatment, delay the recovery or be lethal.
  • When concomitant trauma like fractures are present, but the burn poses the most lethal risk. If the risk from the traumatic injury outweighs the burn’s immediate risk, doctors can stabilize burn patients in trauma centers before transferring them to burn units. Doctors have to make the call in those circumstances.
  • Burns that will need special emotional, social or rehabilitative interventions.

Burn injuries can be catastrophic and disfiguring even if the burn victim survives. Painful skin grafts often have to be endured, along with agonizing debridement sessions to remove dead tissue. Patients can suffer extreme pain even when heavily medicated.

Even after being discharged to go home, it doesn’t mean that life returns to normal for burn victims. They will likely struggle to get used to dealing with their “new normal,” which may include restricted mobility and reduced dexterity. Medical bills can mount and add stress to an already stressed-out victim’s life.

Those who suffered burns in accidents where another party was at fault can seek legal remedies through the California courts.

Source: American Burn Association, “Burn Center Referral Criteria,” accessed Jan. 15, 2016