1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    burn victims - how do they cope?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Mckk, Sep 8, 2011.

    Title says it all pretty much. My MC's just been severely burnt and I really need to know how a burn victim copes with the trauma. I get random scientific studies vaguely based on this which I have a purchase when I use google :(

    I also need to know how the burns affect for example, movement and touch, how it would actually look. I only get the different level of burns when I google this.

    And my MC isn't gonna see a doctor - how can I make the burn happen and still make this a realistic option?
     
  2. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    In my only experience with severe burns, the skin was red, but there was also kind of a gnarly white crust over parts of it...pretty gross. Even after it healed, the skin is all white and red. As far as how burns can effect movement or touch, mine was on my arm, so I didn't have a lot of experience with that. I would assume that if the burns were bad enough, there would be nerve damage...? Aside from that, I'm not sure.

    Depending on the severity of the burns, how large the area is, etc, not seeing a doctor may not be realistic. However, they do sell burn ointments and that sort of thing over-the-counter, so you could always have them use that and try home remedies.
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Do you mean like disfigured kind of burned? You can google "disfiguring burns" and probably find more of what you're looking for. Also, pictures. As I was good friends with a guy who was burned in a housefire as a child, I may be able to help a little bit, but only with his personality, the reactions people had to him, and what it looked like. For how he coped in the beginning - I don't know.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Serious burns (second, and especially third degree) have an extremely high risk of a fatal infection.

    I suggest googling burn trauma, if you haven't already. Also try adding the keyword mortality.
     
  5. Croga
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    Croga Member

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    second degree is the most painful and third degree the most damaging.
    when you get to third degree you experience nerve damage.
    I had Second degree burns twice and I was Bound to be inside, the burns could not be dress and clothes over them were a no no and despite Xanax, Pain killers and anti histamine creams to prevent itching i had an uncontrollable itching niggling pain and an over all anxious and aggressive mood.
    Sleep was difficult appetite not there and showers were immensely cold and painful.
    Any attempt to aid the area with creams or washes or removing dead skin resulting in an uncomfortable itch which is almost unbearable as the itch can't be scratched or stopped and lasts for hours. when i was Alone i would just get an overwhelming urge to stop it, but not know how which led to bad decisions and more pain.
    Eventually i was taken to Hospital.
     
  6. Quorum1
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    Quorum1 Member

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    It depends on the severity of the burn, how large it is and where it is. I worked in a field that deals with burns so if you have more details I could give you more info.
     
  7. W.Locke
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    W.Locke Member

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    My father worked with a man who was really bright, educated, intelligent, funny, but was completely self loathing because he'd been burned on part of his head as a child. He'd get into fits of self-pity and self-loathing that I think anyone could understand, but at a certain point in your life it's probably time to accept it (struggle for sure). That's the one real life reference I have.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if your character is 'severely burned' and doesn't get any medical treatment, he's likely to die either from shock, or eventually from infection and/or gangrene... i think you need to give this more thought, after doing the requisite research...

    the things you say you 'also need to know' depend on where the burn is, what caused it, how much skin surface was affected and to what degree, the age and physical condition of the character, where he is, what is done for him, etc....
     
  9. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    I think we need to know what part of the burn?

    Is it healed and dealing with the scars and mental affects, or are we talking short term, immediately after a burn.

    Dressing changes are painful but manditory to prevent infection. The skin which is a barrier to disease is gone, germs are everywhere, so frequent changes are needed. Third degree burns destroy nerves, but the nerves that are there will be very active. Imediately after a burn, the wound pours fluids out, death from hypo(low)volemic shock is common. to little fluid in the blood. Burn vicitims commonly get two large bore iv's to keep fluid in the body.

    If recovery, search burn survivor stories.

    Recovery, when the dressings are off, people will stare, be repulsed, or simply not look at the person. Even if people aren't problem, the person will not be happy with the scars, even repulsed by thier own reflexion.

    Also where the burn is and how big is important too. A quarter size third degree burn still needs medical attention, but is alot less traumatic and recovery is easier, ecspecially if not on the face. Burns over large parts of the body is serious and traumatic. Even second degree sunburns over large areas may need medical attention.
     
  10. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Your character is pretty much doomed to shock or a fatal infection without treatment.

    I've heard many times that being burned alive is the most painful thing in the world. I wouldn't doubt it. I've had a spinal tumor so I know what nerve pain is like. Can you imagine all those nerves being set off at once? The pain would be unimaginable. I've never once fainted in my life. After my first surgery when they tried to stand me up I was in so much pain I almost blacked out on the spot. Not to mention the emotional trauma of pain. It causes panic. You get to a point where all that exists is that pain. I was doped up on all kinds of stuff and still felt that way. There's just no way someone could survive severe burns with no treatment.

    As for touch and all that it depends how bad the burns are. After a certain point it would cause a tremendous amount of nerve damage. Depending upon how bad it is they may or may not regain their sense of touch/mobility/temperature sensitivity.. etc.

    Nerves have an insulation around them. Usually if that insulation remains intact and the main part of the nerve is not damaged it can repair at least to an extent. I had very intensive physical therapy after my surgeries. I was there six days a week for months. I did see burn victims from time to time. I often saw therapists helping the people learn to use their hands again. They had them playing with putty and squeezing things in order to help their fingers flex. Part of it is the skin regrowth that's painful as well. From my understanding they have to use it or lose it. Scar tissue is not kind. Your skin would grow back but it would possibly take skin grafts and the tissue that managed to regrow would likely be hardened and gnarled looking. I know they used hydro therapy a lot for burns where I was having my physical therapy. I'm not entirely show how they did it but it's something to look into.

    All in all healing from severe burns is horrifically painful. It would take a lot of therapy, medication, and care to get well. Our skin is a essentially a protective barrier. You're incredibly vulnerable when it's that compromised. Also if you're curious about how nerve pain feels it feels like fire or electricity. Often shooting, stabbing, throbbing, or hot needles.

    Keep researching. I'm not a burn victim so I don't have all the answers. This is what little I know.
     
  11. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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  12. Colin Ruggles
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    Colin Ruggles Member

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    Hi Mckk

    Many years ago as a police officer I had the unfortunate job of dealing with a man who set light to himself. When I arrived he was still alive but VERY very badly burned.

    If you would like a description (I can still see him in my head to this day) PM me.

    It is gruesome but if you need to know please ask.

    Colin
     
  13. BFGuru
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    BFGuru Active Member

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    Read "The Outsiders". This character received treatment, but none the less it gives some non clinical insight to how characters may react.
     

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