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May 24, 1941


Author Affiliations

Associate in Surgery, Harvard University Medical School; Associate Visiting Surgeon, Children's Hospital; Associate in Plastic Surgery, Peter Bent Brigham Hospital
From the Department of Surgery, Harvard Medical School, and the Surgical Services of the Children's Hospital and the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital.

JAMA. 1941;116(21):2371-2377. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820210017003

As most persons are dependent on the use of their hands for a living, a minor burn of the hands may be a distinct handicap and a major burn a catastrophe. Improperly treated minor burns may easily become major ones, and improperly treated major ones may result in the loss either of the hand or of the life of the patient himself.

The treatment of burns of the hand differs sufficiently from the treatment of burns elsewhere on the body to justify calling particular attention to the difference. In a previous paper1 the early and late treatment of burns in general was discussed. Certain suggestions made in that paper for treatment of burns of the extremities need to be amplified.

Burns of the hand are caused primarily by explosion, by fire or by contact with hot liquids. The hands of the nonindustrial worker are usually exposed and therefore are