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December 1963

Major Thermal Burns: A Mortality Appraisal and Review

Author Affiliations

Resident in Surgery (Dr. Jackson) and Assistant Professor of Surgery (Dr. Lee).; From the Department of Surgery, University of Tennessee School of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1963;87(6):937-948. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1963.01310180053010

In the year ending in June, 1959, there were 929,000 individuals who sustained burns serious enough to require medical attention. Of these, 70,000 required hospitalization, and an estimated 11,300 died.15 An estimated 6,000 hospital beds are constantly occupied by burned patients.

Despite the apparent importance of this problem, progress in the treatment of major thermal burns has failed to keep pace with advances in other areas of medical science. Chemotherapeutic agents have not effectively reduced deaths from sepsis, and improved therapy of acute burn shock has merely prolonged the interval until death in many cases. A slight improvement in the mortality rate of major burns has been reported by some,2 yet other reports have been less encouraging. Clark and Hanson6 reported an increase in the mortality rate of major thermal burns at San Francisco City and County Hospital from 40% during 1943-1947 to 69% during 1952-1956. During