By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, March 10: Around 82,000 of the 3.3 crore people of Assam sustain different types of burn injuries annually, says a survey on patients with burn injuries in Assam and India. However, the number of desigted burn centres falls short of the requisite strength that can render adequate treatment to such patients.
Though there are six desigted burn centres in Assam, only two of them render their services to the patients. Due to various problems, the other four centres are just not functioning. The infrastucture at the centres is also far from being satisfactory.
The burn centres in the state can provide treatment to 40 burn patients at a time. Thus annually around 800 patients can be provided treatment to their burn injuries. This, the survey report says, clearly shows that there is dearth of treatment facilities for burn patients in the state.
According to the in-charge of burn unit at mecare Hospital of Guwahati, Dr. Bhupendra K. Sarma, “Many burn patients who need immediate treatment die before they reach hospitals. This is because, the general health centres do not want to keep such patients in their centres and refer them to other hospitals without even giving the first aid. It is hard to believe but true that many doctors also do not want to work for the burn patients who need special care, and they cannot give them special attention among general patients.”
Apart from this, it is seen that victims of burn injuries are mostly young females and children, often poor and illiterate. Most of them are kept in home without any medical treatment due to cash crunch. In such a situation, the scarce treatment facilities in the existing burn centres, according to the survey, are a threat to such patients.
The existing burn units, according to the survey, do not have adequate skilled manpower and other facilities needed for treatment. This, according to the survey, is another reason for high mortality and morbidity of burn patients in Assam.
“Many patients admitted to the GMCH with burn injuries have to be released before completion of their treatment. The patients, who sustain over forty per cent burn injuries, need special attention and their chances for survival are low. But due to high cost of treatment the patients do not want to continue their treatment and leave the hospital,” said the in-charge of the burn unit in the GMCH, Dr. Simarekha Devi. She added: “The dressing of a burn patient with over 40 per cent injuries costs nearly Rs. 4,000. The outcome is that most of the patients cannot complete their treatment. They even cannot afford the rehabilitation procedures for the patients after treatment. And this leave burn patients end up with different types of scars and contractures on their bodies.”
Earlier, when a victim suffered burn injury, he/she was given antibiotic medicines to get the injury recovered first and then taken care of the damaged area with the help of plastic surgery and other expensive means. “Modern method helps cure patients with injuries up to 70 per cent. The patients are recovered in a very short period, and it also helps patients regain confidence,” said Dr Sarma.
According to Dr. Devi and Sarma, there are other methods of treatment for burn patients like skin bank and skin cultivation. These concepts, according to the duo, are very new. “The burn patients can take skin of dead persons which can help them to have a normal life again. The doctors can also cultivate the skin with a small piece of normal live skin. Any normal person can dote their skin for burn patients like their other organs of the body and store it for treatment. Modern physiotherapy, splinting and pressure garments have also improved for the prevention of scars and contractures of patients. With proper exercise of these elements, patients can recover very fast,” they said.