Wound care for burn victims to benefit from Korean foundation’s charity programme
By Jude Toyat
Over 250 cases of burn patients are admitted to Sarawak General Hospital’s (SGH) inpatient care every year.
According to SGH Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery senior medical officer Dr Nizam Ali Husein when met by The Borneo Post SEEDS on Nov 8, the mortality rate among burn patients treated at SGH was 70 per cent.
“The common issue that they are facing is the infection. Usually when the patient gets burned, we need to remove the burned skin and replace it with new skin – their own skin.
“If 80 per cent of their skin is burned, they only have about 20 per cent of normal skin and we do not have enough skin to cover their whole body.”
For SGH Director Dr Chin Hin Zing who declared the 2016 Korea-Asean Hallym Burn Foundation Charity Programme open on Nov 8, “Wounds are a great burden to our healthcare systems and patients suffer as it affects the quality of life of these patients both psychology and physically.
“Therefore, we need to manage these wounds effectively with minimal or no complications. We have to learn proper skills and management techniques and these programmes such as this one will help us manage our patients better.”
The charity programme is organised by Hallym Burn Foundation in collaboration with the Malaysian Society of Wound Care Professionals (MSWCP) and Sarawak State Health Department.
The three-day programme that started November 8 will see outpatient clinics getting screened to determine which patients will undergo surgery from Nov 9-10.
“After screening, an eligible patient might be taken to Seoul for further management for free,” Dr Chin said. All costs will be supported by the Hallym Foundation.
Hallym Burn Foundation has been running these charity programmes in Asean countries. MSWCP president Dr Harikrishna K.R Nair took the lead to bring them to Sarawak. He is also technical advisor to the SGH Wound Care Team.
The MSWCP has also contributed RM100,000 for the negative pressure and growth factor trials at SGH and Miri Hospital. The trials are also supported by Daewoong Pharmaceutical.
Dr Nizam just underwent training in acute and burn wound management in Seoul, South Korea through the foundation with three other doctors from SGH, Miri and Bintulu hospitals.
“SGH is also currently going for new technologies so we can try out best to reduce the mortality for major burn patients in the state and that is what we are aiming for in the future,” said Dr Nizam.
“We managed to visit a hospital specialising only on burns there with very well-equipped facilities. As a matter of fact, Sarawak is not that far behind.”
With only two plastic surgeons serving at SGH, however, there is a need to increase the number of plastic surgeons alongside well-equipped facilities to cope with the increasing number of cases.
“Although we can perform emergency plastic surgery anytime here, at the moment SGH can only do two slots per week for elective plastic surgery at its operation theatre. Thus, we wish to have more operation time and slots so we can deal with more burn cases, that is preferably ideal,” said Dr Nizam.
The two plastic surgeons are SGH Department of Plastic Consultant and Reconstructive head Dr John Ranjit, and plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr Daphne Dewi Stephen usually go for visits at other hospitals including Hospital Bintulu and Hospital Miri on a monthly basis.
“We also have invitations to go to areas such as Kapit and Sibu to do operations on demand.
“Usually, the other hospitals in Sarawak will gather all the cases and once they have enough number of patients then we will go to perform operations at their places,” said Dr Nizam who joins three other medical officers from the department to Kapit for operations.
In his department, there are about 20 medical officers and few more junior medical officers and oversee cases from all over Sarawak, with three major hospitals in Miri, Sibu and Bintulu usually referring their cases to SGH.
“Once their patients are stable, they will send them to us in Kuching for further management and operation. Therefore, I can say that SGH is a tertiary centre for burn cases in the state,” he added.
He revealed that most burn cases referred to SGH are caused by fire and scalding.
“Kids usually get burned by hot water, while adults when they are burning rubbish or when their homes are razed by fire,” he said.
“There are also many of those who get burned from road accidents, but a significant number of those from chemical burns are caused by acid.”
Dr Nizam explained that plastic surgery was divided into two main components – reconstructive and cosmetic.
“Reconstructive surgery is usually done on faces with trauma and to reconstruct the head and neck after cancer, as well as to those with congenital birth defects including cleft lip palate and anomalies of the nose,” he said, explaining that reconstructive surgery is usually carried out on patients involved in accidents while cosmetic surgery is for aesthetic purposes.
“Nevertheless, at SGH, we don’t really concentrate on cosmetic surgery as for the increasing number of reconstructive surgery needed here,” he said.
He emphasised that there are also few other plastic surgeons in private sectors including those at Unimas, Timberland Medical Centre and KPJ Healthcare.
Several wound care bags were distributed to representatives of various hospitals in Sarawak at
the event including Lundu Hospital, Hospital Bau, SGH Heart Centre, Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, Sentosa Medical Centre, Serian Hospital, Hospital Simunjan and Sri Aman Hospital.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) from Hallym Burn Foundation to Sarawak General Hospital Kuching, Miri Hospital and Bintulu Hospital were also distributed today.
The contract will determine the overall scope of business cooperation in medical sector, technical support for exchanging patients, and the operation of offices in each mutual country between Hallym Burn Foundation, Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital and Sarawak General Hospital.
Also present were Hangang Sacred Heart Hospital, Hallym University, South Korea chief of plastic surgery Professor Joon Wook Lee.