Burn victims must undergo a painful debridement of their wounds in order to prevent infection. Normally, they are given morphine and other non-anesthetic pain-killers. Sadly, this does not work. They still yell in pain during the operation, which is why they have to be housed seperately from other patients.
Why aren’t the burn patients given anesthesia [local or general] prior to the operation? Is there a safety issue with anesthetics?
Reasons for not using Anaesthesia
Burn victims definitely deserve adequate pain relief at all times including during dressing change
They are grossly under-dosed in clinical practice
Anaesthetics do pose serious issues in burns patients. To name a few
Altered drug distribution – pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics
Prone for hypothermia
Difficult IV access
Prone to infection & Septiciemia
Difficult to fix monitoring devices
Altered fluid distribution
Difficulty in transportation
All these probably lead the patient to undergo dressing changes in the ward itself.
Administering anaesthetics to these high risk patients in “out of theatre” situation may be extremely dangerous.
This is the reason why burn patients do not get what they actually deserve.