March 16, 2012

How Dangerous Are House Fires? Even Well-Protected Firefighters Frequently Suffer Smoke Inhalation and Severe Burn Injury


In late February, two Prince George's County, MD firefighters were critically injured when a wind-fueled fireball blew through a burning house. They will survive, but the two members of the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department will face long, painful recoveries.

Ethan Sorrell, 21, sustained respiratory burns "through his esophagus and down to his lungs," and Kevin O'Toole, 22, suffered second and third degree burns over 40 percent of his body when a basement fire suddenly turned a small house into something resembling a blast furnace.

O'Toole underwent skin graft surgery shortly after, and will be in the burn unit at the Washington Hospital Center for six weeks. He then faces six months of rehabilitation beyond that.

Doctors won't know the full extent of the damage to Sorrell's burned airway until they remove a breathing tube. His father, Vann -- a volunteer firefighter in Buies Creek, NC -- welled up when asked about his son's bravery. "When you go into it, you know the dangers," Sorrell said. But the Sorrells "just have that need to serve," he added.

His son is unable to speak but has been communicating with a pen and paper. He seems to be in good spirits, said the local fire chief. "The first thing Ethan wrote to me on a pad was [that] the medic who transported him was attractive."

Five volunteer firefighters were treated and released for burns and other injuries suffered in this incident, which as been called by fire officials a "freak occurrence."

One of the injured was Michael McClary, who returned to the hospital two days after the fire with bandages wrapped around his hands, and his heart heavy. "He's still upset that he got to go home and his brothers didn't," said his mother, Cheryl.

Michael, she said, wasn't up to discussing publicly what happened at the house, where wind gusts apparently shot a column of flame up the stairs, through the first floor and out the front door.

The fire was extinguished quickly, said a fire commander who was directing a group in the basement at the time of the fireball.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

March 13, 2012

High-Rise Hotel Blaze in Bangkok Offers Lessons on Avoiding Deadly Smoke Inhalation and Severe Burns

Last week, a small fire at a high-rise hotel in the main tourist district of Bangkok, Thailand caused the upper floors to become filled with smoke, killing at least one foreign tourist and injuring 23 others.

When firefighters arrived at the 15-story Grand Park Avenue Bangkok hotel last Thursday evening, they saw people screaming for help from the upper floors. The smoke had risen so quickly and had gotten so thick that "people were panicked and some of them wanted to jump from windows. We had to tell them to wait and we sent cranes in to help," said a local fire chief.

One foreign woman who suffered from smoke inhalation was unconscious when taken from the building and later died at a Bangkok hospital. It can take just two or three breaths of smoky air that contains carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide to cause permanent injury to the brain, heart and lungs, and even death.

The other victims included two Thais and 19 foreign tourists, most of whom suffered from smoke inhalation.

Investigators were still trying to determine the cause of the fire, which started on the building's fourth floor shortly before 10 p.m. and was quickly extinguished, but sent suffocating smoke to the upper floors at a time of night when most people were in their rooms.

Dozens of people were evacuated and rescue teams treated at least 12 people at the scene to clear their lungs of smoke.

The three-star hotel, formerly known as the Grand Mercure Park Avenue, has 221 rooms and is located in a tourist and residential district popular with foreigners.

The lesson to be learned from this incident is that hotel guests should locate the fire exits on the floor they're staying on as soon as they arrive. As the victims who were trapped in this hotel found out, even a small a small fire needs only a few minutes to cause choking smoke that will rise through a building, just like in a chimney. This can cause death and injury to people who are located far away from the actual fire. In a hotel fire situation, every second counts, so knowing where the exits are located before an emergency happens could mean the difference between life and death.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

March 9, 2012

Even One Candle Can Cause Home Fires and Severe Burns

Several weeks back, a few unattended candles sparked a fire that caused about $130,000 in damage and caused more than 40 people to be evacuated from an apartment building in Seattle, Washington.

The fire started at just before 4 a.m., according to the Seattle Fire Department. Firefighters responding to the scene had to use a ladder to rescue a woman who had already become trapped in her second floor unit. Once she was rescued, it took them another 30 minutes to knock down the fire.

The evacuated residents waited inside a city bus as the firefighters fought the blaze. By about 6 a.m., all but two of them were able to return to their homes. Those two residents, a man and a woman, were being helped by American Red Cross.

The fire caused about $100,000 in damage to the building and about $30,000 in damage to its contents. Fire investigators determined that the blaze was started by unattended candles.

A Seattle Fire Department spokesperson said that this fire should serve as a lesson about the danger of using candles indoors, especially at a time when many people might be using candles to save money on their electric and heating bills. In short, it is dangerous to leave candles burning when you leave the room, even for a minute or two. Candles can fall over easily, which means they could ignite carpet, furniture or curtains and quickly cause a much larger fire.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

March 7, 2012

Fire Control Panels Recalled Due to Alarm Failure, Posing a Fire and Burn Hazard


In mid-February, the following product safety recall was voluntarily conducted by Bosch Security Systems of Fairport, NY, in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Consumers should stop using this product immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

The name of the Bosch product is the Fire Alarm Control Panel. The fire alarm panel is a locking red wall box with dimensions of 22.7 inches high by 14.5 inches wide by 4.3 inches deep. The status, date and time can be seen through a glass screen on the panel door. The word BOSCH is printed on the right corner of the panel and the model number FPA-1000-UL is printed on the bottom left below the glass screen. The alarm panels featured software versions 1.10, 1.11 and 1.12, which can be determined by installers. These units were designed to be used in small to medium-sized facilities, in both public and residential buildings. These were sold at authorized distributors and installers nationwide from May 2009 through October 2011. They were manufactured in China.

About 330 units are being recalled because when the "alarm verification" feature of the system is turned on, the control panel could fail to sound an alarm if a fire occurs. In addition, on systems with 50 or more reporting stations, a delay in sounding an alarm and reporting a fire might occur if the loop for the alarm system is broken.

As part of the remedy, all distributors and installers of these fire panels are being sent two technical bulletins. One provides instructions for how to implement a software change that will correct the verification feature. The second contains instructions for how to handle warnings from affected systems with 50 or more stations. Those who have not received the bulletins should contact Bosch.

No injuries have been reported due to the possible faults of these fire alarm systems. But the recall is being done to ensure that nobody who is inside a building that uses such a system suffers severe burns or smoke inhalation as a result of not being notified of a fire by the system.

To obtain instructions on how to download software to update the control panels or otherwise address the problems, contact Bosch Security Systems at (800) 289-0096 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. EST, or visit the "service and customer care" section on the Bosch website.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

March 7, 2012

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) (part II)

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of DVT is made by physical examination and testing, the tests may include:

  • Doppler ultrasound exam of the suspected limb.
  • Blood tests: which include D-dimer, other blood tests may be done to test if there is increased blood clotting.
  • Leg venography: it is an X-ray done to show the veins in the leg.
Treatment:
  • The standard treatment is using medications called blood thinners (anticoagulant), such as Heparin which is given intravenously and Warfarin which is given orally and used for long term treatment, Warfarin needs time to be fully effective and that is why it is given while the patient is still on Heparin. When the patient is started on Warfarin, Lab tests will be needed to check the thickness of blood.
  • Thrombolytic therapy: this is done by injecting drugs that lyses the clot.
  • Catheter directed to remove the clot.
  • Placement of a filter in the inferior vena cava (largest vein in the body) to prevent the clot from traveling to the lung.

You should seek medical help immediately if you have a history of DVT and develop symptoms such as chest pain, breathing difficulty, fainting, coughing blood or other symptoms.

Prevention:

  • Stop smoking.
  • In any condition that requires long time sitting ie, long plane trips or long period of time lying in bed, the person should try to move his/her legs to avoid stagnation of blood which increase the risk for developing DVT.
  • Blood thinners, these medications decrease the thickness of blood and decrease the incidence of clot formation; they may be prescribed for Patients who are at high risk of developing deep venous thrombosis.
  • Pneumatic compression device: these are devices that may be used to decrease the incidence of deep venous thrombosis. They are prescribed for patients in the hospital who are at risk of developing deep venous thrombosis. The sleeves of the device are attached to the calves of the patient. The sleeves periodically squeeze the calves preventing blood from stagnating. A blood clot may occur if the blood is stagnant. If you leave the bed ie, to walk or visit the restroom, you have to make sure that the device is reconnected when you return to your bed as these devices should be worn all the time.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

March 6, 2012

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Gets Recall of Melamine Mugs, Due to Serious Burn Hazard


In late February, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with Carlisle FoodService, announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer products. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately. Also, it is illegal to attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

The type of product being recalled is beverage cups and mugs. About 111,000 units are targeted by the recall. The importer of these cups and mugs is Carlisle FoodService Products of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The danger related to these cups and mugs is that they can break when they come in contact with hot liquids, posing a threat of serious burns to consumers. Carlisle has received three reports of cups and mugs breaking during use with hot liquid. No injuries were reported, however.

The nine models of Carlisle cups and mugs were sold in sizes from 7 ounces to 16 ounces, and in the following colors: white, green, red, brown, black, ocean blue, sand, honey yellow, bone, and sunset orange. They are approximately 3 inches tall and are made of melamine. The name "Carlisle OKC, OK" and model number are imprinted on the bottom of each product, along with "Made in China" and "NSF." Some might also include the model name and size, for example: "Durus 7 oz cup." Cups and mugs included in this recall are:

Sierrus™ Mug, 7.8 oz, Model # 33056
Durus® Challenge Cup, 7.8 oz, Model # 43056
Dallas Ware® Stacking Cup, 7 oz, Model # 43546
Dayton™ Stacking Cup, 7 oz, Model # 43870
Kingline™ Ovide Cup, 7 oz, Model # KL300
Kingline™ Stacking Cup, 7 oz, Model # KL111
Melamine Stackable Mug, 8 oz, Model # 4510
Cappuccino Mug, 12 oz, Model # 4812

Many people suffer second degree burns and third degree burns each year from spills of hot liquids onto their skin. The immediate treatment for this type of burn is to pour cold water over the affected skin for 1-2 minutes so that the various layers of skin cool down quickly and are not damaged so badly that they require skin grafts. After doing this, the victim should seek professional medical attention.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

March 1, 2012

Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) (part I)

Is a medical condition in which a blood clot forms in a deep vein in the body. Most of the blood clots happen in the large veins in the lower leg and thigh. These clots can block the veins leading to restricted blood flow or may break off and move through the circulatory system leading to serious problems depending on which organ is affected. A DVT may cause pulmonary embolism if it goes to the lung, it may cause heart attack if it goes to the heart or it may cause a stroke if it goes to the brain.

Deep venous thrombosis may be caused by:

  • Factors that cause change in the blood velocity.
  • Factors that cause change in the consistency of blood
  • Factors that cause damage to the lining of the vessel.
Risk factors for developing DVT may include:
  • Bed rest
  • Sitting for a long period of time such as on a long plane ride.
  • Recent surgery.
  • Giving birth within the last 6 months.
  • Medications such as contraceptive pills.
  • Smoking cigarette.
  • Obesity.
  • Fractures
  • Hypercoagulability: increase the liability of blood to form clots.
  • Conditions that lead to increase the production of red blood cells.
  • Cancer.
Signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis include:
  • Skin redness over the affected limb.
  • Warmth (to touch) over the affected limb as compared to the other limb.
  • Pain in the affected limb.
  • Tenderness in the affected limb.
  • Edema (swelling) in the affected limb.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

February 28, 2012

Burns in Geriatrics

A geriatric is a person who is older than 65 years. The geriatric population is increasing in developed countries due to the improvement of services and quality of life.

Flames and scalds are the leading cause of burns in geriatrics. Risk factors that may contribute to burn injury in elderly people include:


  • Living alone.

  • Decrease in the level of mobility.

  • Decreased supervision of elderly people.

  • Decreased smell and decreased reaction time.

All degrees of burns can happen (First, Second and Third), but there are risk factors that may increase the severity of the burn which may include:

  • The presence of chronic diseases such diabetes.

  • Atrophy (thinning) of the skin and subcutaneous fat.

  • Nutritional deficiency.

  • Cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction.


With age, the skin becomes thin with decreased vascularity, making elderly people more liable for deep burns as well as decreased wound healing.

Elderly people have increased risk to develop contractures due to a higher percentage of deep burns. When the burn is deep a skin graft may be needed and as the skin thins with aging this will lead to a poor donor site as well as difficulty in healing for both the donor and the recipient site.

Elderly patients require more rehabilitation and the long term disability is greater due to the presence of the risk factors that may increase the severity of burn.

Elderly people should always make sure that the smoke detector is working, that there is someone that can be contacted easily in case of an emergency; and they are careful when cooking and handling hot objects.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.

February 28, 2012

There's Danger of Fire or Severe Burns From Laptop Computers and Other Electronics

In late February, a man suffered third degree burns from an unusual incident involving an overheated laptop computer. His burns were so severe that he had to be airlifted to a top burn treatment center for further care, including skin graft procedures to replace badly burned skin.

The 31-year-old man suffered burns on 60 percent of his body. The cause of his injuries was a fire that started in the bedroom from an overheated laptop computer which was left on while he took a shower. The victim was injured because he made a careless decision: He placed his laptop computer on the mattress of his bed before going into the shower. Laptop computers get hot when they are on, and their cooling and ventilation areas are near the bottom of the unit. So laptops must always be placed on a hard surface so that they can take in air to cool them off. In this instance, the heat from the computer was trapped, and eventually set the mattress on fire.

When the victim realized that the mattress and the bed were on fire, he tried to put it out with the help of his wife. Unfortunately for him, in his attempt to extinguish the fire, he suffered severe burns on his hands, arms, and legs. The fire was finally extinguished by a team of firemen who rushed to the scene after receiving a distress call from someone outside the home.

The lesson here is that electronics devices--iPads, laptops, and even smartphones--give off lots of heat, so they must not be left on any surface that can burn. There have even been burn accidents where laptop users severely burned their legs by placing the laptop in their lap to use it! Sometimes these devices become overheated from a product defect such as a short circuit, and this product defect could result in an injury lawsuit against the manufacturer.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

February 23, 2012

Do Not Fight a Home Fire--It's Too Dangerous. Evacuate Quickly to Avoid Severe Burns

Here is a story that shows clearly why, if a fire breaks out in your home, you should get out immediately and call 911 to report the fire, rather than stay inside and try to extinguish the fire yourself. In short: Unforeseen dangers can arise, and they can kill you.

In mid-February in San Francisco, investigators who reviewed last year's house fire in the Diamond Heights district that killed two city firefighters issued a set of safety recommendations aimed at preventing a similar tragedy in the future.

A sudden flare-up in the burning house, fueled by oxygen coming in from a broken window, caused the deaths of the two firefighters. The men died even though they did not commit any procedural errors, San Francisco fire officials said.

An internal safety investigation on the June 2, 2011 fire indicates that Lt. Vincent A. Perez and Firefighter Paramedic Anthony M. Valerio were killed by temperatures of up to 700 degrees caused by a sudden-moving burst of fire, known as a flashover.

The intense flashover, which lasted for several minutes, was caused when a window shattered in a ground-floor room, fueling the fire with a rush of oxygen, according to the report. The heat was drawn up a stairwell from the basement, where the fire started, towards the open window on the ground floor. Valerio and Perez were standing on the ground floor, and were killed by third degree burns from the wave of heat that came over them. "They were caught in a chimney-type situation," said Assistant Chief David Franklin, who worked on the team that prepared the report.

Investigators said the flashover was not something that could have easily been prevented or predicted. "What Vincent and Tony did is exactly what all of us firefighters would have done," said Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White, noting that it is standard practice in the department to make an aggressive attack and try to get water on a fire as quickly as possible. "It was something that we really had no control over."

Valerio and Perez, whose Engine 26 was the first to arrive on scene after the fire was reported at 10:45 a.m., were trying to reach the seemingly small, routine fire through the front door of the four-story wood-framed home, which was built into a hillside with floors both above and below ground level. They conferred with other firefighters arriving on the scene on the ground floor at 10:53 a.m., and agreed that the fire was below them, the report said.

A short time later, around 10:58 a.m., the flashover occurred and pushed back other firefighters who were attempting to enter the building through the garage. Firefighters were ultimately able to put out the fire through a lower-level entrance on the side of the building.

Perez and Valerio were discovered on the ground floor at the top of the stairwell around 11:05 a.m., after failing to respond to several radio calls, officials said. At no time did the two firefighters send out any distress calls or trigger their emergency alarms. The last radio transmission came at 10:52 a.m., when they said, "we're still looking for it, zero visibility, more to follow," the report said.

The two men suffered internal and external burns to 40 percent of their bodies, and died of "thermal injuries," according to the San Francisco Medical Examiner. Perez died at the hospital later the same day, and Valerio died two days later.

While fire protection gear worn by the firefighters appears to have functioned as designed during the flashover, their radios were severely damaged by the intense heat.
"We're very concerned about it and believe this will become a national issue" about how to prevent radio damage from happening in the future, Hayes-White said.

The report also found that the response to the fire, caused by an electrical short, was delayed by an attempt by the residents to put it out themselves. Hayes-White urged residents to call 911 right away so that professionals can respond promptly. Even if you are not burned, it is possible that inhaling just one or two breaths of smoky air can make you unconscious from smoke inhalation, and thus unable to escape.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

February 22, 2012

Smoke Inhalation Injury From Burning Garbage Pits: Does U.S. Government Have Legal Liability?

Rather than creating traditional landfills, U.S. military personnel have burned tons of trash and human waste while stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But some veterans now believe that their present health problems are the result of breathing in the polluted fumes and smoke that came from those burn pits.

Legislation filed in November in the U.S. Congress would direct the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a registry for veterans who might have been exposed to these burn pits during the wars involving the U.S. between 2001 and 2011. The database would allow the government to collect information on the number of veterans exposed to the burn pits and the types of health problems they are suffering. However, it doesn't direct the government to provide any particular type of benefits to those veterans.

"Is there a really consistent pattern of a problem, of is it more a coincidence?" said one member of Congress. "We've seen anecdotally what appears to be some pretty weird symptoms that just turned up from nowhere" among soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The VA website states that toxins in smoke like carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide could affect the skin, eyes, kidneys, liver and the nervous, cardiovascular and reproductive systems. But it also says that research has not shown to this point long-term adverse health effects from exposure to burn pits.

The VA previously had asked the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences to review existing literature on the potential health effects of exposure to burn pits in military settings. A report released in early November by the institute focused on a burn pit used to dispose of waste at Joint Base Balad in Iraq, which burned up to 200 tons of waste per day in 2007.The report found that the levels of most pollutants at the base were not higher than levels measured at other polluted sites worldwide, but it said there was insufficient evidence to draw firm conclusions about any long-term health effects that might be seen in service members exposed to burn pits.

The legislation would require the VA to commission an independent, scientific study to recommend the most effective means of addressing the medical needs that are likely to result from exposure to open burn pits. To create and maintain the database could cost about $2 million over five years.

For people not in the military, here's the lesson from this story: Any type of smoke inhalation can be damaging to several systems in the body, to the point that you might never fully recover--and it might result in premature death. So whenever a person suffers smoke inhalation, they should be given professional medical help immediately to flush the lungs of smoke (which contains not just carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide, but many other poisons too)--even if the person feels fine!

Many times, injury and pain and suffering from smoke inhalation does not appear until hours or days later--but by then it is too late to repair the damage done to the human body. So don't take a chance--if someone suffers any smoke inhalation, get them professional medical help immediately.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

February 21, 2012

Discharge Home After a Burn Injury

After staying in the hospital for a period of time, there will come a time when the patient has to be discharged home. When the burn team decides that the patient is ready to be discharged, a plan will be set for the discharge. The case manager will work with the patient and his/her family to coordinate for the discharge. Some patients will be discharged to a rehabilitation center to continue their treatment. Don't hesitate to ask any question you have regarding your discharge plan. The discharge plan will include:

  • The medications that the patient will use after discharge: before discharge you have to know the medications that you have to continue using, how to take them, the dose, how many times a day, what the medicine is used for and what are the possible side effects of the drugs. You have to finish any prescription you are given even if you are feeling good.
  • The diet that you should consume: a well balanced, healthy diet should be consumed by the patient with plenty of fluids. If there are diet restrictions it will be discussed with the patient before discharge which will differ from one patient to another depending on the situation of the patient (see Nutrition and Burns).
  • Physical activity: activity is important to prevent joint stiffness and avoid muscle power loss. The patient, before discharge, will be given instructions from the burn team regarding the activities that the patient can participate in. The patient should avoid certain activities like heavy lifting until the physician tells the patient it's ok to do them. Some patients may need physical or occupational therapy at home as part of the recovery process (this will be arranged by the hospital staff).
  • Some patients may need certain equipment like a wheelchair. The case manager with the burn team will work with the patient so that the patient will have the equipment needed.
  • Taking care of the wound and the dressings: see also burn wound care at home, wound infection. Follow all the instructions given to you by your treating staff. Ask your doctor when you can begin bathing or showering.
  • Compression garments: some patients may need compression garments which are used for the treatment of scars, they work by applying pressure to the affected area which helps flatten and improve the appearance of the scar.
  • Follow ups: make sure to keep all the follow ups, if you miss one, call to re schedule it.
This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.
February 16, 2012

Quick Thinking Minimizes Burn Injury After Scald Accident

In late January in a small town in Illinois, a mother and father helped to minimize the injury to their nine-year-old daughter from a burn accident, by knowing what to do and acting quickly.

What would you do if your child got scalded by boiling hot water, or if you saw a restaurant worker scalded by hot liquid or food? Doctors say this is something that parents and restaurants employees alike should know, because these scalding accidents happens a lot.

The young girl in this case did sustain second degree burns and third degree burns, and was still in considerable plain a few weeks after the burn accident. But without her parents' fast actions, the girl probably would have had much worse injuries--which could have required skin graft surgery to repair damaged skin.

The girl was eating with her family at a restaurant when a pot of steaming hot water for tea that was placed on the table turned over. When the boiling water spilled into the girl's lap, it burned right through her clothes and skin to the inner layers of the dermis, where nerves and blood vessels are. "I started to feel like I was on fire, and I just started to scream," the girl said afterward.

First, the girl's parents pulled her pants off to cool her down. "I didn't care that we were in the middle of a restaurant--they had to come off," said her father. "At that point, though, I could already feel some of the skin blistering."

Her mother, a nurse, ran to the kitchen and grabbed ice and cold water. "I grabbed an iced tea pitcher and filled it with water, and sat her down with the ice and held her and poured the ice and the water, continually dumping some of it into her lap," the mother said. "You have to stop the burning process. Even though the top layer of skin could be dry, the burning is still going in the skin layers below. If you can stop that deeper burning, you can stop a lot of the injury damage."

The girl's doctor at the burn center at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood, IL said that was good thinking. "To try to cool down a burn injury is important. Particularly when a victim has clothing that has hot liquid on it, that heat is still transferring heat to the skin," he said.

A few weeks later, the girl is well enough to play board games to ease her pain. "It makes me forget that I got burned," she says. In addition, some virtual reality video games have been proven to help burn victims lessen their pain by taking their minds of of their burn injuries for minutes or hours at a time, even when pain medication does not help.

The girl's doctor says that 40 percent of Loyola's burn unit patients are children. Most of them were burned with hot water or food. This is why parents must know what to do in the event their child suffers a burn accident, and why restaurant workers should know as well.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

February 14, 2012

Door Fires and Burn Accidents in Toyota Models Under Investigation


Some Toyota Camry and RAV4 owners have reported their car doors catching on fire, apparently from a power window switch. Federal safety regulators are investigating reports of fires in the driver's side doors of 2007 Toyota Camry sedans and RAV4 crossover SUVs.

The probe could affect as many as 830,000 vehicles, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said last week in documents posted on its website. The vehicles have not been recalled.

The fires appear to start in the power window switch in the door. Six fires have been reported to the agency, but NHTSA has no reports of anyone being hurt. The agency said it started the investigation this week.

Toyota said in a statement that it is cooperating with NHTSA in the investigation.

Most of the fires were minor with damage limited to the doors, but a Camry was destroyed in one case, according to complaints filed with NHTSA. Several owners reported that they were afraid to drive their vehicles because of the threat of fires.

In one case, on Nov. 19, 2011, a Camry owner reported seeing flames coming from the door immediately after starting the car. Firefighters were called, but the car was reported destroyed, the complaint said.

A RAV4 owner reported that in August of last year, the master power window switch caught fire, burning a hole the size of a dime. The owner had been having trouble with the power window since July of 2009. "I was so afraid to drive that fire trap, I traded it in for a new car," the complaint said. "The RAV4 was paid off. Now I have a car loan at 19.9 percent."

Toyota's reputation has taken a hit over the past three years due to a string of huge recalls that have ballooned to more than 14 million vehicles worldwide. Millions were recalled for acceleration problems, and Toyota replaced floor mats that can trap gas pedals as well as pedal assemblies that can stick and cause cars to take off by surprise. But after an exhaustive probe, U.S. safety regulators, aided by NASA engineers, could not find anything wrong with Toyota's electronic throttle controls.

In December, the 2012 Camry received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency's top rating.

Here's the lesson to be learned from this story: If you see or smell smoke or fire from within your car, shut off the car and get out of the car immediately. DO NOT open the hood of the car--this will give a fire more oxygen to burn and can result in severe burns to you or people around you. Call the fire department immediately.

If you or someone you know suffers an injury such as third degree burns or smoke inhalation, you should call Kramer & Pollack LLP in Mineola, New York so that the personal injury attorneys in that firm can determine whether another party has legal liability for injuries suffered, and if the injured party has a strong legal case.

February 10, 2012

Hazards Including Second Degree Burns Lead to Recall Tassimo Coffee Makers

A 10 year old girl sufferred a second degree burn to her face and neck and needed to be hospitalized as a result of a defective coffee maker. The consumer Product Safety Comission (CPSC) reported that there have been 140 reports of problems with the Tassimo single-cup brewers dousing people, including 37 cases involving second degree burns. CPSC reported that the plastic disc that holds the coffee or tea in the coffee maker's (T-disc) can burst while brewing and spray hot liquid and coffee grounds or tea leaves onto consumers .

About 835,000 coffee makers are on recall in the United States and another 900,000 in Canada. The agency also announced the recall of 4 million packages of Tassimo espresso T-discs after 21 reports of problems.

Contact with hot liquids is one of the causes of a second degree burn. Clinical features of a second degree burn may include the following;

  • Blisters.
  • Deep redness.
  • Swelling.
  • Pain (they are the most painful because nerve endings are intact).
  • Peeling of the skin.
  • Shock because of the loss of fluid.
  • Burned area may appear wet and shiny or white.

Treatment:
Second degree burns can be treated at home if they are minor. Moderate and critical burns require treatment in a hospital. You need to seek medical treatment immediately if the burn is greater than 2-3 inches in diameter, if it is on the face, hands, feet, or genitals; or if the burn is caused by an electrical source.

The goal of treatment for second degree burns is to ease the pain and prevent infection.

  • Remove any jewelry or clothes from the burned area.
  • Hold the burn under cool running water for 10-15 minutes or apply cold water compresses like a wet towel.
  • Don't break blisters because it will increase the risk of infection.
  • You can apply an antibiotic cream or an aloe based cream then cover the burn with a dry sterile gauze pad.
  • Use pain reducing medications like Tylenol or Motrin.
  • If the burn is on the arms or legs, keep them raised to reduce swelling.
Avoid the following things:
  • Don't use ice or ice water. (may cause more injury).
  • Don't remove clothing if it is stuck to the burn (it will remove burned tissue with it).
  • Don't put grease, ointments, petroleum jelly or home remedies, these substances can hold the heat in and make the burn worse.
  • Don't use bandages with adhesive material (it will stick to the wound).
  • Don't give aspirin to a child under the age of 18 years.
If there is any change or worsening of the burned area you should see your doctor. These changes include: puss drainage from the burned area, increased redness, excessive swelling, blister filled with greenish or brownish fluid, fever, swollen lymph nodes, numbness or coolness of the skin beyond the burned area. (See wound infection)

A second degree burn heals between 10 days to 3 weeks, deep second degree burns may take more than 3 weeks to heal.

This information is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice; it should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Call 911 for all medical emergencies.