The recovery from burns can take an exceedingly long time. The biggest risk from a burn is an infection. Our skin is our primary defense against infections. When it is burned away, it’s all too easy to catch one. And since burns can take months to heal the risk is very high.
One lucky 11-year-old boy was saved from such a burn because he had an identical twin.
On Memorial Day, a family was getting ready to cook. The mother told one of the twin boys to start the fire. But the young boy decided to use gasoline to start the fire. The house shook with a boom and the mother discovered her boy in flames. The can was near-empty and the fumes ignited.
Life-flight took him to the hospital where he was given a 50% chance to live. Many severe burn victims have to use pig or cadaver skin as a temporary measure until normal skin grows back, but the body rejects these measures over time. This is another reason why severe burns are very dangerous. Five surgeries were done in the first 10 days.
Then the doctor asked if the burned boy’s brother was an identical twin. With his skin, the recovery time would be much faster because the body wouldn’t reject it. It was genetically identical. The family, who were Amish and delivered the children at home, wasn’t sure if they were identical. A test proved the match.
While the child didn’t care about giving up some skin to help his brother, it took a month for ethics clearances to pass all levels since the doctors would have to harm the brave brother to help the burned one. In all, two skin grafts were performed using the twin’s skin. Doctors estimated that it hastened recovery time by 2-3 months and avoided 5-10 more surgeries.
Nevertheless, it still took several months for the boys to heal after the incident enough to go home, and now a long process of recovery has begun to avoid scarring. The local community has pitched in to help, and the twin brother has been hailed as a hero for undergoing such a painful procedure.
You can read the full details of the story at the link above. For information about the process of burn treatment and the difficulties of healing, read the rest of our website. You’ll learn important details that can aid recovery and inform you of the risks of burns.