Being the victim of a burn injury can be devastating and life-changing. The combination of significant physical pain and extreme mental and emotional distress that results can reduce self-confidence and increase anxiety in professional and social environments.
When such a devastating event occurs, it is natural for a patient to turn to their trusted medical advisors, seeking assistance with their recovery. Unfortunately for some, the appropriate care is not always received. A medical practitioner may not have caused the burn injury at issue, but they may become liable in negligence if the treatment provided for the burn injury falls below the accepted standard of care.
A first degree burn is a minor burn affecting only the outer layer of skin (epidermis). It may cause redness and pain.
Second degree burns affects both epidermis of the second layer of skin (the dermis). These type of burns can cause swelling red and white blotching skin. Blisters can develop. Pain and severe scarring can occur.
Third degree burns reach to the fat layer beneath the skin. Burned areas may be black, brown or white. The skin may look leathery. Third degree burns can destroy nerves causing numbness.
Burns are caused by:-
- Hot liquid or steam;
- Oil from a pan;
- Hot metal glass or other objects;
- Electric currents; and
- Chemicals – such as strong acids.
Complications can result in scarring, overgrowth of scar tissue, bacterial infection (sepsis), fluid loss, hypothermia and breathing problems
Examples of Negligent Treatment of Burns
- Errors during dermabrasion (a process of smoothing over scar tissue that encourages new skin cells to grow by removing the damaged skin)
- Skin grafts that are improperly executed
- Inaccuracies and mistakes in restorative plastic surgery or reconstructive surgical procedures
- Failure to treat infection at a time when a person is more susceptible to developing an infection
- Failure to adequately monitor a burn for signs of infection
- Failure to quickly preserve any surviving tissue
The above errors can lead to:
- Additional disfigurement
- Overgrowth of scar tissue
- Loss of sensation to the affected area
- Fluid loss
- Heat exhaustion/heat stroke
- Bacterial infection (sepsis)
What to Do If You Have Experienced Negligence as a Result of Burn Surgery
To proceed with a claim for negligence, a patient must show that the treatment provided fell below the accepted standard of care. A patient will be required to prove that the injury is worse than what would have been reasonably expected and that this injury was caused as a result of the lapse in the ordinary standard of care.
If you are unsure as to whether you have a case, get in touch with the HOMS Assist Team. We will, under your instruction, take up copies of your medical records in order to fully investigate the treatment received. We will consult with our panel of medical experts to help determine whether there was any negligence involved in the treatment provided to you. If we do identify negligence, we will proceed with the case on your behalf, allowing you to focus on your recovery, which is of primary importance.
Contact HOMS Assist today to discuss your options in a confidential and sensitive manner. We endeavour to make the process as stress-free as possible for you.