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What types of burn injuries require treatment at a burn unit?

Because they often cover a large area, burn injuries are some of the most painful injuries possible. The skin is the largest organ in the body and has millions of sensory receptors, meaning even first-degree burns can be extremely painful and take some time to heal. Second- and third-degree burns, however, are even more dangerous and can cause permanent loss of motion, disfigurement and even death.

According to the American Burn Association, severe burns should be treated at specialized centers called burn units that are equipped to provide the necessary and often lengthy treatments required. The referral criteria states that all third-degree burns should be treated in a burn unit, but lesser burns may also need specialized treatment if they involve chemical or electrical burns, partial thickness burns that cover more than 10 percent of the victim's body or are present on the upper or lower extremities, face, genitals or joints.

Patients who have other medical issues, including preexisting disorders or concurrent injuries, may require additional treatment, and the physicians must decide where the patient will be best cared for. In some situations, the victim may need to be treated for additional traumas and stabilized before moving to the burn unit.

Treating a burn is not a quick process. Severe injuries can often mean weeks in the hospital and surgeries including skin grafts to attempt to repair the damage. The victim may also need extensive physical therapy to regain range of motion and deal with any muscle atrophy that occurred during the hospital stay. All of these medical bills can add up quickly, adding financial stress into an already difficult situation. Those who have been injured through an accident that was the fault of another person, however, may have legal options to seek compensation through the Arizona courts to cover medical expenses, loss of income and even pain and suffering.

Source: Radiation Emergency Medical Management, "Burn Triage and Treatment: Thermal Injuries" Dec. 03, 2014

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