06 June 2005


Two of our helicopters were launched to a small hospital 30 minutes to our South.......

"Your patient is a 34 year old man with burns to over 60 percent of his body."

Burns smell.

In the small space of the helicopter there is no way to avoid the smell.

Realizing the smell comes from the burned flesh of a human being, not some piece of meat ruined on a grill, makes the job difficult.

The story was heartbreaking:
Our patient, his brother, and his daughter were in a small car. The two men were seated in the front, daughter in the rear. They were on a two lane road, stopped, waiting on traffic to make a left turn.

They were struck from behind by another car traveling at a high rate of speed. Their car exploded. Both men were able to get out of the car.

Then they heard the screams of their daughter/niece.

Both men went back into roaring flames to try and extricate her.
They failed.

The hair on both these men was melted to their scalps. It reminded me of the "painted-on" hair of toy dolls with rubber heads that little girls played with when I was young.


These men were both in shock from the experience of trying to save the young girl. Their bodies were in trouble because burns this extensive begin to take a toll on the body.....trying to cleanse itself of all the toxins associated with the dead and dying tissue, liver and kidneys are overworked and fail.

Their prognosis was NOT good.

We took them to the burn center, where we knew they would get the best burn treatment available. Unfortunately, this wonderful treatment frequently just postpones the inevitable.

This was another case I didn't follow up on.

I didn't want to hear the answer, so I didn't ask the question.

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