Acid attack: Deep burns open door to deadly organ failure, expert warns

ICU care crucial for fourth-degree burn victims to prevent sepsis

08 May 2024 10:48am
Faisal Halim. Photo by Bernama
Faisal Halim. Photo by Bernama

SHAH ALAM - Patients with fourth-degree burns face a significant risk of bacterial infection spreading to their organs, potentially leading to organ failure.

According to public health expert Dr Hanafiah Bashirun, these deep wounds, reaching down to the bone, create easy access points for bacteria to multiply and enter the body.

"To prevent complications from these infections, patients often require multiple surgeries.

"The severity of burns depends on the depth of the injury.

"First and second-degree burns affect only the surface of the skin, leaving muscles unharmed.

"Third-degree burns reach the deeper tissues and muscles, while fourth-degree burns completely erode the skin layers, exposing bone.

"This is why patients with exposed bone require multiple surgeries.

"Dead tissue must be removed to prevent pus formation and avoid creating breeding grounds for bacteria," he said.

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Dr Bashirun stressed the seriousness of acid burns compared to fire burns.

"The acidic nature of the substance rapidly eats away at skin and tissue, and the affected areas can continue to erode for days even after the acid is neutralised.

"The greatest concern is the risk of bloodstream infections.

"Unchecked infections can quickly spread to internal organs.

"During treatment for fourth-degree burns, meticulous management of dead tissue and appropriate antibiotics are crucial to combat bacterial threats.

"This is why patients are placed in the ICU, a sterile environment with minimal bacterial exposure," he said.

Dr Bashirun also stressed the importance of limiting visitors during treatment for fourth-degree burns, as they can unknowingly introduce external bacteria.

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