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August 1955

Treatment of Mass Civilian Burn Casualties: Care of Cleveland Hill School Fire Victims

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, University of Buffalo Medical School and the Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1955;71(2):196-201. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1955.01270140044007

On March 31, 1954, twenty burn casualties were admitted to the emergency rooms of the Edward J. Meyer Memorial Hospital during a 30-minute period. The case material was somewhat unique in that all casualties were in the same age group (10 to 12 years), all burn wounds were sustained almost simultaneously, and flame burns were responsible for the injury in each instance. The mode of handling these cases is the subject of this paper emphasizing, as it does, the need for civilian general hospitals to be prepared to meet such disaster demands.

The school fire victims were screened as they entered the emergency department by a senior surgical resident. Eleven of the 20 were estimated to have in excess of 20% body surface burns and were therefore kept in the emergency treatment rooms of the admissions department. The remaining nine were sent immediately to surgical wards. The estimated total surface