Most people only know that burns can range in severity and are classified by three degrees-first, second and third. However, what many Americans, including those in Oklahoma, may not know is that a burn injury has many classifications and these types of injuries are a growing concern in the United States.
According to the American Burn Association’s 2013 fact sheet, there have been 450,000 cases of people receiving treatment for burn injuries across the United States. The figure was obtained through federal surveys, which gather data from emergency situations and hospital admissions. However, the figure could be much larger since other burn injuries could have been treated at private facilities or health centers in the community. On average, there are 3,400 deaths caused by burn injuries, fire and smoke inhalation each year. These categories of deaths are grouped together since it cannot always be determined if these kinds of deaths were due to burns, smoke inhalation or both.
Common knowledge dictates that burn injuries are caused by fires and while that is certainly true, burns also can be caused by other means, as well. Thirty-four percent of burns come from scalding liquids, nine percent occur after coming into contact with hot surfaces and four and three percent, respectively, are caused by incidents involving electrical power and chemical. Also, those injuries are not limited to a residential setting. Nine percent of burn injuries happen in the workplace, while another five percent happen on the street or highway.
Although the survival rate for burn injuries remains high, at 96.6 percent, Oklahomans should realize that recovery and treatment from a burn injury can be excruciating. There is also an emotional element to being a burn victim. Burns can cause disfigurement, which often leads to a victim’s lowered self-esteem. The pain and suffering can be overwhelming and so are the expenses. Victims are often advised to take legal action and seek compensation, especially if their injury was caused by someone else’s negligence.
Source: American Burn Association, “Burn Incidence and Treatment in the United States: 2013 Fact Sheet,” accessed on Oct. 21, 2014
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