During the time that I was serving in Polonnaruwa as the surgeon in that hospital I was called upon to treat many victims who had suffered burn injuries sustained from Kerosene oil bottle lamps. There were many rural hamlets where farmers lived and had no access to electricity from the grid supplying the town areas. Consequently, they were using a low-cost solution: kerosene oil in bottles with a wick as their lighting source.
These bottles with kerosene can topple, the oil leaks out and if lit the flame spreads in the surrounding areas causing burn injuries to anyone close by. The clothing catches fire and spreads rapidly causing serious burn injuries which could be fatal especially if there is a delay in entering hospital for emergency care. In the rural areas some were reluctant to enter hospital and preferred the use local medications which complicates the matter further. There were others who left hospital on their own after the initial care only to end up with complications like contractures and deformity later. These required extensive plastic surgical procedures for correction. These could be prevented if adequately treated by grafting of skin from a healthy area to the burn area at the appropriate time.
There are specialised Burns Units in some hospitals. But in the absence of such facilities and expertise at the Polonnaruwa Hospital was called upon to treat these injuries.
Stages in the management of deep burn injury of face – skin grafting
THESE ARE PREVENTABLE INJUIRIES. RURAL ELECTRIFICATION SCHEMES ARE AN ABSOLUTE NECESSITY TO PROVIDE THE PEOPLE LIVING IN VILLAGES WITH ELECTRICITY SO THAT THE USE OF THESE DANGEROUS KEROSENE LAMPS WILL NOT BE NECESSARY.
Dear Reader, you might be interested to read my next post were I share on injuries caused by knife and how the healing knife saves it : ‘A HEALING KNIFE FOR THE DEADLY KNIFE’
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