Surviving the Burn
Aggressive Treatment Key to Burn Injuries
Sometimes, it just takes an inch or two to turn a normal day into something potentially life changing. No one knows this better than Bob Goodbred of Earlville, Illinois.
Last November, Bob, 75, was doing maintenance on his 14-foot snow plow, which was lying across some 3-foot steel horses. He was using an acetylene torch when one end of the plow fell off the horse.
"I was pinned under," said Bob Goodbred. "I slid as much as I could from under it. I had a torch in my hand the torch caught my clothes on fire and from there I was really trying to get out. I got out, shut the torches off went over to my daughter's and then I went to Saint Paul in Mendota and then the burn center in Rockford."
A CT scan revealed that Bob had five broken ribs where the plow had landed on him. Then he was transported to OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, the region's leading critical care hospital for burn, trauma, stroke and heart attack. Third-degree burns covered Bob's torso from his hip to his armpit.
The regional burn center at OSF Saint Anthony is one of only five such facilities in the state. The center cares for approximately 200 acute burn survivors a year.
"We've had the gamut of the most serious injuries you can see as you can imagine, and we've had very fruitful outcomes and excellent success," said Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, medical director, regional burn center, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. "The nursing care, the therapy and the administrative support is superior and second to none and that affords me the opportunity to take care of these patients with the utmost of my abilities and the dignity and respect we can offer those patients. We've seen 90 percent burns with scars of course but the scars are only skin deep. Once the patients recover they are fully functional and that's exactly what we want. Get them back into the workplace, back into society, get them back with their loved ones such as they don't miss a beat."
The road to reovery, however, can be long. For someone who suffers 50 percent burns, the hospital stay can be as long as 50 to 100 days plus time for rehabilitation. Fortunately for Bob Goodbred, he was in the hospital only 17 days. He is expected to make a full recovery but it may take up to a year. In fact, Bob is already behind the wheel of his truck and clearing snow again with his plow."
"His case was specifically something I remember very well for the fact that he had the traumatic injury the heavy weight fall on his chest and he fractured his ribs,but he also had the burn," said Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, medical director, regional burn center, OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center. "On top of that, he was on a blood thinning agent for his heart because of some heart disease. That blood thinning agent in most cases could cause massive internal hemorrhage also could pose problems when I think about skin grafting from that perspective."
Both infants and older adults are at the greatest risk for burn injury. Smoking and open flame are the leading causes of burn injury for older adults while scalding is the leading cause of burn injury for young children. For people like Bob Goodbred, when an accident does occur, it's reassuring to know that a serious burn injury can be treated and life can return to normal.
For more information, visit https://www.osfhealthcare.org/saint-anthony/services/burn-unit/