KOCHI: Chances of burn injuries are high during festivities like Vishu. But getting the right treatment for burn injuries is still a challenge in the state due to limited facilities, both in the government and the private sector. A few hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode cities have exclusive burn care units while the rest of the state lags behind.
According to experts, victims with 30 to 50 per cent burns should be treated in specialised burn care units having specially trained staff and facilities. In Kochi, burn units are operational only in five major private hospitals and in the Government Medical College, Kalamassery and the General Hospital. Though a few private hospitals in the state have special burn care units, treatment there is highly expensive, making it difficult to afford.
Hospitals too have reasons for not setting up burn care units. For intense burn cases are rare and high input costs are required to maintain a burn care unit which should follow intensive infection prevention protocol, fluid management and long recovery period.
“Burns don’t happen all the time. Private hospitals do take in cases with 30 per cent burns. It’s not financially viable to hold burn units,” said Dr Paul George who deals with burn cases in a private hospital. Even access to government hospitals with burn care facilities is challenging as only a few district hospitals and medical colleges have such units.
Doctors say that transporting burn victims long distances is a risky affair as medical treatment should be provided immediately. “A burn victim loses a lot of fluid from the body . First, doctors check the airway and breathway circulation following which fluid management is done. Wound management and further treatment are finalised depending on the intensity of the burn and the treatment is a long process,” said Dr Jijo Joseph of Apollo Hospital.