BY STEVEN MAYER, Californian staff writer
email@example.com | Monday, Aug 23 2010 To view the pictures in this story please go to www.bakersfield.com/news/local/x464578515/Burn-notice-experts-share-knowledge-in-local-workshop
burn_1_fa.JPG Felix Adamo / The Californian
Allan Magpusao, RN, left, Kelly Townsend, RN, and EMT Intermediate Lynne Smith make their assessment on "burn victim" Sarah Johnson, acting the part of being in a natural gas explosion at the Advanced Burn Life Support course at the Bakersfield Marriott Hotel.
burn_2_fa.JPG Felix Adamo / The Californian
A doll is used at the Advanced Burn Life Support course to simulate a child who has just been burned in a kitchen accident. Instructor Carrie Holben, RN, explains procedures and signs to look for to first responders attending the workshop.
burn_3_fa.JPG Felix Adamo / The Californian
RN Michelle Wolfe from Barstow, left, and Bakersfield City Firefighter Michael Lencioni look on as Advanced Burn Life Support course instructor Carrie Holben, RN, explains procedures and signs to look for on this doll representing a child who has severe burns from a kitchen accident.
The "victim" appeared to be unconscious, with serious burns to her face, shoulders, torso and forearms.
Registered nurse Allan Magpusao was told the young woman was suffering from shock following a powerful natural gas explosion.
Then he was asked the most important question of all: "What do you do now to help the victim?"
Fortunately, the young female victim was only a model wearing realistic make-up that made the exercise seem almost real.
But the intent was deadly serious: to learn the answers to that critical question.
Magpusao and dozens of other medical professionals went in search of answers to that question at a Burn Life-Support course held Monday at the Marriott Hotel at the Bakersfield Convention Center.
Organized by the Shriners Hospitals for Children -- Northern California, the all-day course drew a variety of medical professionals, including nurses and emergency responders from Bakersfield and across California.
"The whole purpose is to share this knowledge and information with other communities," said Dr. Tina Palmieri, assistant chief of burns at Shriners, who taught the course.
Hundreds of Kern County residents suffer serious burns annually. Only last year, San Joaquin Community Hospital opened Grossman Burn Center, the first major burn center in Kern County.
Planners had expected to treat about 120 patients per year, but they had underestimated the need. Grossman saw saw 369 patients in its first year.
Burn specialists have found that the first people to treat a burn victim -- whether they're paramedics, nurses, physician assistants or doctors -- perform an important role, not only in sometimes determining the survival of a victim, but also in maximizing the patient's quality of life once her survival is assured.
"Our goal is to help patients not just survive a burn, but to survive it with the highest quality of life possible," Palmieri said. "Research shows that the first response can affect a burn patient's long-term outcome, and a child's chance for a full recovery begins with the first responders and health professionals in the communities we serve."
Monday's course was broken up into three parts, said Johanna Sanders, a registered nurse who assisted Palmieri and others in the teaching process.
First came classroom-style "didactic" instruction. Then the attendees were exposed to two of five possible scenarios using live models -- except in in one scenario where a doll was used to represent a very young child who was seriously scalded in a kitchen accident.
Finally, the attendees were tested on a third scenario.
At the "pediatric" table with the doll representing a scalded toddler, Registered nurse Carrie Holben asked Bakersfield Fire Department Capt. Michael Lencioni how he would determine the amount of fluid that should be provided the injured baby.
The answer depends on the extent of the burns, organizers said. First responders use what is called the Rule of Nines to calculate the burn area by counting which parts of the body are affected. Other calculations are also used before the caregiver can be sure about the amount of intravenous fluids to use.
Of course, preventing burns is the best course of action.
Scalding from spilled liquids -- whether it's fallen from a stovetop, countertop or microwave -- accounts for most burns to young children, Palmieri said. Unfortunately, it's become quite common.
Older children and adults receive most of their burns from a flame, she said.
When it happens, victims need help fast.
"We're usually the first ones to come across burn victims," Lencioni said. "This helps us."