Third–degree burns are an extremely serious injury because with this type of burn not only is the outer layer of the skin destroyed (epidermis) but the layer underneath the epidermis (dermis) is destroyed as well. Third–degree burns can be caused by: scalding liquids, fire, electricity, or chemicals.
When an individual suffers a third–degree burn the affected area of skin may appear: dry and leathery and black, white, brown, or yellow.
The individual with a third–degree burn may experience swelling at the burn site but they may not have any sensations of pain. Lack of pain is an indication that nerve endings have been destroyed. Third–degree burns are slow to heal and may not heal properly without appropriate medical treatment. Third–degree burns typically require hospitalization and rehabilitation and may require surgery to ensure the injury heals properly. Individuals suffering from third–degree burns may require medical treatment such as: intravenous fluids, breathing tubes, oral antibiotics, prescription pain medication, hyperbaric chamber, antibiotic creams, sterile bandages, surgery and skin grafts.
Third–degree burns may take extended periods of time (weeks to months) to heal and may require long periods of hospitalization. Because of the seriousness of third–degree burns it is essential that health care providers caring for a victim with these types injuries ensure that the burn area is protected while it heals and provide individuals with appropriate burn therapy. Bandages should be changed on a regular basis and the burn victim closely monitored for infection. Dead tissue may need to be removed through surgery, and a procedure known as an escharotomy may need to be performed in order to make certain that blood is able to flow to healthy tissue around the burn area. Burn victims may require physical therapy to ensure that movement to the burned area is restored and to minimize the effects of scarring. If these steps are not taken, the victim’s injuries may not heal properly and the victim may be subjected to further pain and injury. If this occurs, the individual may be the victim of medical malpractice.
Medical malpractice occurs when health care providers fail to provide their patients with medical treatment in accordance with the medical community’s accepted standards of care. If health care providers are negligent in providing proper, timely, and adequate treatment and the patient is injured or dies as a result, the health care provider may be held accountable for medical malpractice. When third–degree burns are not closely monitored and appropriate burn therapy applied, the individual may suffer further injury and unnecessary pain and suffering. When third–degree burn patients become the victims of medical malpractice, they may be entitled to receive financial remuneration for their mental and physical anguish as well as medical bills and lost wages. A medical malpractice lawyer can review third–degree burn cases in order to determine if the health care provide was negligent and if ground exist to file a medical malpractice claim.