Pediatric care has come a long way. Scores of children’s hospitals now exist to tend to the special needs of pediatric patients and they are thriving. A key contributor to this kind of specialization has been the evolution of pediatrics into numerous pediatric subspecialties.
Providing care to a burn patient is challenging and requires competent healthcare providers. Providing care to a pediatric burn patient, however, presents a unique set of challenges that requires exceptional skill and tremendous experience to ensure the best possible outcome.
Pediatric patients in general present a challenge because of the fear and discomfort they experience. To help its pediatric burn patients deal with the unfamiliarity of their care and treatment, Doctors Hospital employs a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS).
The severity of a child’s burn determines her nutritional needs. In some instances, the child may need more than two times the number of calories and protein than he normally would, according to registered dietitian Angelyn Vaughan, a member of the burn care team at Doctors Hospital.
As a practicing board-certified child abuse pediatrician, Dr. Susan Luberoff, Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Columbia, SC says that burns are a sad reality of child abuse. “The most common abusive burns we see in children are immersion burns, such as being placed in a bathtub of hot water. Flame or cigarette burns also are commonly associated with child abuse.” Most abusive burns are at least second degree, where blistering occurs, if not worse.
During the wound healing process, the body’s cells naturally reform. With third and fourth degree burns, however, the cells don’t reorganize normally and thus, noticeable scarring results. Aesthetics aside, burn scars can seriously inhibit normal movement, which is why extra attention must be given to treating burn scars in children whose bodies are still growing.
Regrettably, children often become victims of their own curiosity or the carelessness, indifference, and ignorance of adults. “Among children under the age of 14, about 450 deaths each year are the result of residential fires, and most of these are children under the age of five,” says Dr. Natalie Lane, board-certified Pediatric Emergency Medicine specialist. “In fact, it’s the fourth leading cause of unintentional injury related deaths among that age group.”
The role of physical therapy in burn care management is critical and usually begins when the child is in the ICU. Megan Clark, Supervisor of Burn Physical Medicine at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital says the challenge of caring for children is the fact that they are still developing, growing and learning.
As the largest inpatient burn center in the United States, the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, is a forerunner in the latest research and treatment techniques for severely burned patients. Recently, JMS physician, Dr. Richard Cartie, had his research published detailing a new treatment method that could revolutionize the way patients heal from their burn injuries.