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Invited Critique
January 1, 2007

Cost-Utility Analysis Applied to the Treatment of Burn Patients in a Specialized Center—Invited Critique

Arch Surg. 2007;142(1):57. doi:10.1001/archsurg.142.1.57

Sánchez et al provide us with outcomes data that go beyond hospital cost, length of stay, and morbidity and mortality statistics. They found that labor expenses were the major cost of treating burn patients, pointing out that burn care remains labor intensive. Currently, nearly two thirds of burn centers in the United States are experiencing a nursing shortage, and many have similar problems for burn surgeons. During the past decade, less than 50% of fellows completing burn fellowships have remained active in burn care, and 30% of those who are currently active plan to retire within 5 years. These shortages may become all the more significant by 2020 if the predicted shortages of 400 000 nurses and 200 000 physicians in the United States are correct.