New Zealand health authorities have reportedly ordered 1.2 million sq cm of skin to help volcano victims

New Zealand health authorities are reportedly working non-stop to help volcano victims. Also, they have allegedly ordered 1.2 million sq cm of skin to treat burn injuries.

Surgeons are working non-stop to help tourists who have suffered horrifying burn injuries in the eruption of New Zealand’s White Island volcano. At present, 29 patients are being treated in ICU and burns units in New Zealand, while 22 patients are on airway support. 27 of tourists had burns to more than 30% of their body, while some have burned to 90-95% of their body. For context, experts say the palm of a hand is about 1.5% of the area of the body.

In a press conference, Counties Manukau district health board’s chief medical officer, Dr Peter Watson said, “We currently have supply but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the supply for dressing and temporary skin grafts. These supplies are coming from the United States, and the order has been placed.”

Watson even said that the injuries sustained by the tourists got complicated because of the mix of gases and chemicals from the disaster.

He further added, “This has necessitated more rapid surgical treatment of these burns than is the usual case for thermal-only burns. The country’s surgical teams have been working “around the clock non-stop” to begin surgical treatment – the start of a process for some patients could last several months.”

Clinical Director of Surgery, Middlemore hospital, Dr John Kenealy said, “This number of burns at one time is certainly unprecedented in New Zealand, and it is unprecedented in most countries in the world. These are fortunately rare events.”

He however; said that the team handling the patients is well trained to cope with such sort of injuries. He further added, “The patients that we are treating are standard from the point of view that we deal with patients of this severity of burn all of the time.” 

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