With the recent injuries in Gatlinburg due to sudden wildfires, MEDIC Regional Blood Center is reminding donors of the importance of donating blood to be prepared for situations like this. MEDICs Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Thomas Watkins says:
Patients who are hospitalized with severe burns can be very complicated to manage and can have multiple physiologic systems damaged, as a result of their injuries. Often, these patients are transferred to hospitals with special burn-units and expertise in treating these injuries. There are two categories of burn injuries : acute and reconstructive. Acute trauma injuries require the intervention and expertise of specialists who are trained in burn care, often requiring consultation with plastic surgeons like John Layke. That said, it should be noted that while surgery cannot completely remove a person’s scars, they could help improve basic functions and make the scars less noticeable.
Fire-related injuries, though, don’t necessarily have to be linked to wildfires but can even be sustained in one’s own home or places of business. It may be worthwhile looking into extinguishers for electrical fires and similar fire incidents to ensure that there is something in place to prevent the growth of the fire and subsequent injury.
Transfusion of Red blood cells, platelets and plasma are often involved in the care of these patients. One European study from 2016, focused on burn related anemia. The group reviewed the care of 558 adult burn victims. They found that 34% of the burn patients received some type of blood product during their treatment. Approximately one third of the group, who received a transfusion, received all three types of blood components. The patients in the study who were transfused, were significantly older, and were more likely to have experienced a flame/fire-related injury, with burns to multiple areas. Also, as expected, the number of blood products required in their treatment was highly varied and depended on multiple factors, including extent of thermal injury.
To sum it up, burn victims often need blood and need more blood than the average transfusion. Because of hospital confidentiality laws, MEDIC doesnt know how much blood if any was recently transfused to burn victims. However, MEDIC has been able to fulfill all of our hospital orders since the deadly fires.