Wonderful ointments, plastic surgeries that can reconstruct and restore the skin to almost normal, and several amazing solutions have been discovered as far as the treatment of burn injuries is concerned. But what is shockingly under-discussed is the psychological aspect of events that unfold after an accident which involves the infliction of pain, scars, and contractures via heat or a similar medium. In today’s discussion, we are going to highlight this aspect and bring into prominence, multiple factors which are directly associated with the mental trauma experienced by a burn injury survivor. We briefly talk about post-burn contracture and how research backs the claim that they damage a patient’s mental health to a significant extent. If you find yourself deeply moved by the tragic situation of burn survivors, we have discussed something that you will find extremely helpful in the latter section of this discussion. All we ask in return is your undivided attention!
Burn Injuries: An overview
Defining a burn injury sounds like a very simple task, right? But you will be amazed by the number of people who simply forget to take factors other than heat into account as well. Folks, fire is not the only hazard that can lead to a burn injury! Unregulated application of chemicals, current, and radiation to the external or internal body surface can also lead to extensive destruction of the body tissue. While this discussion will predominantly talk about the psychological consequences of burns, the detrimental effects of such injuries on physiological health must not be ignored either. However thanks to solutions like plastic surgeries, such effects can be minimized by a great deal.
This brief section is for those of you who are not familiar with the concept of contractures. A contracture refers to a fixed tightening of muscles, tendons, skin, or ligaments using the simplest possible definition. Contractures are nothing but a curse for your body since they prevent the normal movement of the damaged body part/organ. Severe burn injuries often lead to skin contractures, a state in which your skin becomes rather scarred and non-elastic in many cases. This ultimately hampers the range of motion and hence, adds more to the anxiety level of the patient suffering from them. Burn scar contractures are usually experienced by patients who fall prey to 2nd or 3rd-degree burns.
How is Post-Burn Contracture Treated?
The description sounds rather freighting, right? It must have had some of you thinking about the treatment of post-burn contracture as well. Well, we are happy to report that such a deformity is treatable. The treatment of a post-burn contracture involves the release of the contracture, which is immediately followed by a skin graft. Which operative technique or plastic surgery will be optimal for a particular patient is a decision that is made by a surgeon only after he or she has assessed the situation completely. Plastic surgeries can cost the patient quite a fortune, a subtopic which we will talk about in a minute as well.
The Psychological Angle & the Mental Trauma
Tissue reconstruction, scar healing, and complete recovery to the pre-injury state are possible and happens more often than not. Sure, it takes time, but scars heal. However, this time inflicts wounds on mental health that cannot be treated the same way by a plastic surgeon. A burn injury survivor suffering from post-burn contractures feels anxious and depressed about the future. The traumatic events that unfolded during the time of the accident burn on the patient’s memory forever, ultimately leading to a condition where the patient falls prey to post-traumatic stress disorder. The thought of living a life with a somewhat disfigured body is just too much for most survivors. Couple this with the inability to interact the same way socially ever again, and we can understand exactly why a burn survivor dwells in the depths of depression all the time. The trauma is so big and severe that it consumes lives, even after the patient fights and overcomes the physiological wounds inflicted upon his or her body. It is imperative that the mental state of affairs through which a patient is passing must be understood by the panel treating the patient, as doing so will accelerate the rehabilitation process by a significant factor.
Research Backs the Rant!
A study published in 2017 reveals the prevalence of major and minor psychiatric problems in patients suffering from burn injuries. According to the research titled “Burn-related factors affecting anxiety, depression, and self-esteem in burn patients: an exploratory study”, burn injury survivors suffer from several conditions that we have already mentioned in the previous sections. The study also established that there was a direct association between the financial burden of treatment and depression. It makes sense because the expensive nature of treatment does little to improve a patient’s mood. Different injections and surgical requirements that are a must for a contracture release surgery can be a burden which not many patients can bear. For example, a single collagenase injection can cost as much as 11,000 USD!
How Transparent Hands Helps Patients?
Among the many NGOs working for burn injury patients’ rehabilitation, one name that stands out is Transparent Hands. The organization funds contracture release surgeries and other surgical procedures for underprivileged patients by collecting donations from all across the world.
Transparent Hands is the largest technological platform for crowdfunding in the healthcare sector of Pakistan. It offers a complete range of free healthcare services including medical and surgical treatments, medical camps, and telehealth facilities to the underprivileged community of Pakistan. The platform provides visibility to underprivileged patients and builds a personal and trusted bond between patients and donors while ensuring complete transparency. It also sets up free medical camps in the rural areas of Pakistan in which, free medical consultation, free medicines, and free diagnostic tests are provided to deserving patients. Donors from all over the world can use the Transparent Hands crowdfunding web portal and donate through 100% secure payment modes. They could select any patient, fund the treatment and receive regular feedback and updates until the patient has recovered completely.