question for experienced burn nurses

  1. Is it remotely possible that someone with over 90% of the body burned (60% 3rd degree, over 30% 2nd) can survive? This former coworker of mine has been on life support since an accident last week. The family has so much hope , but I just can't imagine that survival would be possible with that extent of damage.

    But then, I've never dealt with anyone still being maintained with such severe burn injuries. The two that I was familiar with didn't survive to make it to the hospital.

    Any thoughts?
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    About jemb

    Joined: Jul '02; Posts: 1,233; Likes: 8
    RN, outpt onc/hem unit


  3. by   gwenith
    With some of the newer technology we can get some survivals but it depends - do they have respiratory burns - what area of the body is NOT burnt??? How old are they??
  4. by   sallee13
    having done this for over 5 years i would say no. i know that age and inhalation injury play into the answer but i would say no. the highest percentage i have seen survive is 70 % in a 20 year old with no inhalation injury. we have also had several 9o % burns come through without survival.
    Last edit by sallee13 on Apr 27, '04
  5. by   jemb
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    Age mid forties but very good/athletic physical condition. A small part of one foot was not burned. Not sure about respiratory burns, but said a few words to friends at the scene before losing consciousness- if that is any indication of anything.

    I've not been to visit because of the distance, but have been getting messages from family and friends. Every time I see their messages, I think "Why are you doing this? There's no chance!!!" But I don't say anything. It's just so sad.
  6. by   gwenith
    Does NOT sound good at all. Usually if you have at least one area of skin that can be harvested for grafting there is a lot more chance.
  7. by   jemb
    Just wanted to say thanks to Gwenith and Sallee for their replies to my questions. Sadly, my friend did not survive -- no surprise. To me, it is more surprising that he survived as long as he did after the accident. His family members who lived across the country were able to be at his bedside before he passed.

    So many times we see that, don't we? It just seems as if folks 'hang on' for a wedding, a graduation, an anniversary, or for a particular person to arrive. I've seen that so many times with my onc pts...
  8. by   gwenith
    Sorry to hear about your friend - as an onc nurse you would be more than aware that sometimes "saving" someone is not always the right thing to do.
  9. by   jemb
    Thanks, Gwenith. I'm sure he would have had essentially no quality of life had he survived. He was a remarkable person, full of fun and energy.

    It was just a senseless and totally preventable accident. That fact has left his famly and many people who knew him both shocked and bewildered.

    At least now his family will be able to resume (and rebuild) their own lives.
  10. by   renerian
    I am sorry he did not survive but I am relieved he is no longer suffering.


  11. by   Kyriaka
    As a burn patient (60% 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, and inhalation) let me say...there is a ALWAYS hope. Always.
  12. by   sallee13
    sorry to hear about your friend, but there are some things worse than death.
  13. by   Carr1955
    Just a note for thought. I was burned over 90% of my body in 1959-60. I was 4 or 5 years old at the time and male. I was treated in San Francisco by a caring and generous staff. It was always communicated to me by my family that I was the first to survive burns this severe to that date. I was an Easter Seal poster child. I attribute my recovery to talented doctors and nurses, my tenacious mother and family and many, many others, along with a personal genetic meaness and will to live. I also understand that age plays a major part in survivorship.

    I know this is an old thread but, in searching for sources, I found this site and postings and thought I should make an effort, as it seems there is not much information about on the subject.

    Strange and wonderous is the world.