Third-Degree Burns

Third-degree burns are the most serious and life threatening. Since these burns penetrate the entire thickness of the skin, they permanently destroy skin tissue and nerve endings— leaving the victim in need of numerous skin grafts and surgery to help recover from permanent scarring. A victim of a third-degree burn should be immediately taken to receive medical treatment. The CDC has provided a list of signs and initial treatments that can help you diagnose a third-degree burn and treat it long enough for the person to be taken to receive professional care.

Signs:

  • Loss of skin layers
  • Often painless. (Pain may be caused by patches of first- and second-degree burns which often surround third-degree burns)
  • Skin is dry and leathery
  • Skin may appear charred or have patches which appear white, brown, or black

Treatment:

  • Cover burn lightly with sterile gauze or clean cloth. (Do not use material that can leave lint on the burn.)
  • Do not apply ointments or butter to burns; these may cause infection.
  • Take steps to prevent shock: lay the victim flat and elevate the feet about 12 inches.
  • Have person sit up if face is burned. Watch closely for possible breathing problems.
  • Elevate burned area higher than the victim’s head when possible. Keep person warm and comfortable, and watch for signs of shock.
  • Do not place a pillow under the victim’s head if the person is lying down and there is an airway burn. This can close the airway.
  • Immediate medical attention is required. Do not attempt to treat serious burns unless you are a trained health professional.

The repercussions from third-degree burns can be found extending far into the future and throughout the victim’s life. Not only is the victim left with pain and scarring, but they often are forced to change their lifestyle and deal with the mental and emotional damage that comes along with an injury this serious in nature. On top of this, the medical costs of skin grafts and burn treatments can be overwhelming. If you or a loved one has suffered a burn injury at the fault of another person, please contact us and let us help you receive the necessary compensation that will help you to recover and move forward.

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Personally reviewed by attorney Ken Christensen

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