Safety

Australian hospitals treating burn victims

Emergency Management Alert, February 10, 2009

The deadliest-ever wildfires in southeastern Australia are testing Melbourne hospitals after at least 80 people were hospitalized with burns.

The hospitals are dealing with an influx of people who sustained bad burns in the state of Victoria’s bushfire emergency. Some patients are so severely burned they are not expected to survive, reported ABC via Yahoo! News.

Many of the burn victims have been taken to the state’s main burns center at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne, where 22 patients are being treated. The center normally gets one patient in a week, but with the bushfires had 22 patients admitted in a matter of just hours, one physician told the news service. That is the largest number of cases the burns unit has ever dealt with at once.

The Austin Hospital in Melbourne saw 28 patients in a 24-hour period, a number that could rise, according to the director of emergency medicine.

Entire towns were razed by the wildfires, which burned people in their homes and cars in the deadliest blaze in Australia’s history, reported the Associated Press. The number of dead stood at 171 on Monday, a count that could continue to rise as officials reached further into burned-out areas.

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