To the Editor:
Your publishing of an article on the treatment of burns
contained a number of dangerous inaccuracies.
Your author states that even in intensive care, prolonged
cooling should be done. The burnt skin cannot protect from
the low temperatures that prolonged cooling causes, so
dangerous lowering of body temperature can occur, as well as
more risk of injury. This is a risk in winter and in summer.
Ice is always dangerous in the treatment of burns.
Furthermore, tap water is enough for cooling; saline and
polydine give no benefit and may be more irritating.
A recent article in the journal Burns concluded that
after a few minutes, there are no benefits of cooling except
for pain relief. Prolonged cooling does not affect the
healing process, indeed it may retard it.
There is no evidence that shortened cooling causes more
complications. Indeed, it doesn't prevent blistering, and
latest evidence shows that blistering may be beneficial.
It is untrue that cooling prevent scarring or the need for
Burnshield is an expensive device which is 97% water and has
not been shown to affect any parameter in burns.
Protein and pineapple play no role in building healthy
Unfortunately, these folk remedies and amateur physicians
are rampant in our community, yet they can cause significant
damage due to their unproven and dangerous therapies. Proof
is done with carefully designed clinical studies, not by
circulating rumors of how miracles occurred.
I have dedicated myself to improving the medical knowledge
of my readers. This was a definite step backwards. Please
leave the discussion of treatment of medical problems to
those trained in the field.
Joseph B. Liebman, M.D.
Director Emergency Services
Maayenei Hayeshua Hospital