Burn Injuries Can Cause Gastrointestinal Changes

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Severe burn injuries can change the bacterial makeup of a victim’s gastrointestinal tract, increasing the percentage of harmful and potentially dangerous bacteria, and reducing helpful and beneficial bacteria. That change however, seems restricted to persons who have suffered severe burn injuries, as opposed to those with less severe burns.

Researchers found in their analysis of patients who had suffered severe burn injuries that these persons experienced a dramatic increase in the number of dangerous bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. This increase in the dangerous bacteria increased the chances that the person would develop gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel disease, and other non-related conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and even diabetes. They found that in a person with a severe burn injury, the dangerous bacteria comprised approximately 32% of the bacteria in the gut, while among patients with less severe burn injuries, the dangerous bacteria accounted for just 0.5% of the bacteria.

This condition in which there is an imbalance in the bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract is known as dysbiosis, and it has potentially long term health consequences. In fact, according to the researchers, some of these complications could possibly even result in death of a person with severe burn injuries.

Compensation for burn injuries must include compensation not just for medical expenses, and lost wages, but also the potential for lost income in the future. Severe burn injuries, for instance, can result in a number of potentially devastating health consequences, including nerve damage, nerve pain, and joint disorders. The person may suffer from severe scarring and disfigurement, and that could impede his ability to go back to work and earn a living.

Etiwanda Fire Indicates a Tough Fire Season Ahead for Southern California

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Firefighters have been able to stop the growth of a recent wildfire burning east of Los Angeles, ABC News reports. Despite wind gusts of up to 100 miles an hour and extremely low humidity, the Etiwanda fire has been controlled. 

As of May 1,  evacuated residents were allowed to return to their homes in the Rancho Cucamonga area. More winds are forecast for the weekend and temperatures are expected to be extremely warm but fire officials are fairly confident that the worst is over. However, residents are encouraged to be prepared: evacuation at a moment's notice may still be necessary if the fire becomes uncontrollable again. 

Fire officials and Rancho Cucamonga residents are feeling extremely fortunate that the fire did not get swept up by the wind and wreak havoc throughout the area. Because of high winds, the crucial air support that is often necessary to fight Southern California wildfires was unavailable. Planes and helicopters were grounded. But as a result of the fire fighters herculean efforts on the ground, more than 1,600 residents who had been evacuated from their homes were allowed to return. Several area schools were closed for several days due to smoke.  No serious property damage, burns or other injuries have been reported. KTLA News reports that the fire has burned an estimated 1,627 acres and that it has been more than 50% contained as of May 1.  

Though this fire may be under control and its cause will be the subject of continued investigation,  the unusually high temperatures and early arrival of Santa Ana winds indicate that a challenging fire season may be on the horizon for Southern California.

The Risks of MediSpa Dermatological Injuries

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

As millions of people prepare for the holidays, many may prepare for the parties and family reunions by visiting salons and day spas. Many will even take a step further in efforts to alter their appearance. Countless people throughout the nation will visit one of the many "medispas" that have been springing up over the last several years. Such spas may have a lot to offer because they have access to the latest beauty techniques and technologies. 

Lasers were once thought of as the stuff of science fiction. In the last several decades, however, lasers have become increasingly important in the medical field and can accomplish surgical miracles unheard of only a decade ago. But as with many technologies, the cost of developing lasers has dropped dramatically which has made them increasingly available to larger segments of the population. Now these powerful tools are used for hair removal and wrinkle reduction. 

As the number of medispas using lasers proliferate, the number of injuries occurring is also going up. Under all circumstances, lasers must only be handled by extremely cautious and highly-trained professionals. But, often, people are left with permanent scars and severe injuries as a result of dermatological burns caused by lasers. Unfortunately, lasers are only one of many causes of injuries at medispas and salons.

Botox injections, hair coloring, permanent makeup application, and other treatments may lead to dermatological burns and other injuries. In some cases, Botox is administered incorrectly which can lead to nerve damage and other complications. With hair coloring, powerful chemicals may be used in an attempt to achieve desired results. Imperfections of any kind, whether through a defective product or a negligent employee handling the application, can lead to chemical burns on the face and scalp. Permanent makeup application can lead to negative reactions involving the dye used. The risks may be especially high when the permanent makeup is applied near the eyes.  

Most medispas and salons are safe but many critics claim that the industry is not regulated aggressively enough. If you are interested in a medispa treatment, the safest action may involve extensive research into the quality of services provided and training of the staff. 

Explosion in Pasadena Kills 2 and Critically Injures Another

Thursday, November 01, 2012

An explosion at a facility in Pasadena has left two dead and one person critically injured.  The cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.  The fire was reported at 2:15 a.m., the morning after Halloween.  Firefighters arrived to the location and witnessed a chaotic scene.  There were people fleeing the building as they entered to look for the occupants of the home.

Halloween in Southern California: A Time for Fun and Caution to Prevent Injuries to Children

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

At Halloween, similar injuries to children happen every year: burn injuries that are the result of flammable costumes; slip and falls on neighborhood sidewalks from poorly maintained roads and ill-fitting costumes that drag on the ground; pedestrian accidents that lead to injury and wrongful death are also common. These can arise from negligent drivers who do not see children in dark costumes and excited children who do see cars because of poor visibility from costume masks. Since most trick-or-treating takes place near dusk or just after dark, the dangers are exacerbated by what may be inadequate street lighting. When streets are lined with trick-or-treaters, drivers must take extreme precaution to avoid causing a Halloween tragedy.  

Since California is so densely populated and so spread out with suburbs and track homes dotting the landscape, neighborhoods will be filled with young children looking for candy at the same time that commuters will be returning home from work. The combination can be risky. Safety precautions when crossing streets should be adhered to even more vigorously during Halloween in Southern California.  

Kids aren’t the only people at risk of Halloween-related tragedy. Candles used to illuminate jack-o-lanterns and other festive décor are often the cause of house fires. Children and pets can easily knock such candles over.  Additionally, electrical decorations and outdoor holiday lights often overburden electrical strips and lead to fires. This can put all members of a family at risk.  

For tips on how to stay safe this Halloween, see the Consumer Protection Safety Commission’s website:

A Reminder of October Fire Risks in California: Santa Barbara Wildfire Forces Evacuations

Saturday, October 20, 2012
40 homes outside of Santa Barbara were evacuated recently due to a wildfire in the Painted Cave area of the region. The fire burned over 40 acres and was responsible for an injury to one of the hundreds of emergency personnel fighting the blaze. As of Thursday, October 18, residents had been allowed to return to their homes. The Painted Cave area is a rugged region 75 miles northwest of Los Angeles. Though no serious injuries or property damages were reported, the state is still under grave threat of more wildfires even as cooler and more humid fall weather conditions are on the way. 

The Painted Cave residents may have avoided catastrophe for now but the region is far from immune to the threat of devastating fire. In 1990 a fire in the area burned 550 homes and was responsible for the death of one person. Insurance claims were in the millions of dollars as a result of the fire damage and related burn injuries. The threat of fire still lingers in the state even as cooler temperatures are predicted. An ongoing drought and an extremely warm summer mean that the risk for fire will continue to lurk deep into the fall and, perhaps, beyond. In Southern California, the inevitable Santa Ana winds will only exacerbate the threat in October and throughout the rest of the year.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, out of the twenty most destructive fires in California over the last several decades, nine of them have occurred in the month of October (  Even before this destructive month, CAL FIRE had responded to more than 5,300 wildfires; that is almost 20% above average. 

Though Southern California’s mid-October heat wave may be ending, the dry conditions fostered by such heat will contribute to the ongoing threat of fires. With already dry conditions throughout California, the Painted Cave fire may be a fairly benign reminder of the dangers yet to come.  

Fire Dangers Continue to Rise as California Blazes

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The Ponderosa Fire in Northern California has caused millions of dollars in property damage and will result in innumerable insurance claims. Dozens of structures have been destroyed and hundreds of homes are threatened in the area of the state about 150 miles North of Sacramento. Governor Jerry Brown has sent National Guard troops to assist in the effort and federal emergency assistance has also been allocated. Though this fire is ravaging Northern California, the entire state is at risk of a similar catastrophe.

Warnings are commonplace about fire danger in Los Angeles and all of Southern California. The summer of 2012 has been extremely hot and dry so the warnings are particularly serious. When summer storms emerge, lighting can quickly turn the dry vegetation into kindling. Lightning is blamed for the start of the Ponderosa fire. Such an unavoidable natural cause is also possible in the Southland. 

Heat records have been set throughout Southern California this summer. Fortunately, Southern California has only seen a small number of wildfires this year: San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Ventura have all seen significant fires but nothing like the Ponderosa. Fires of the magnitude that have erupted in the past, namely 2007, have also been absent so far. In October of2007, the dry and hot summer contributed to massive fires erupting from Santa Barbara, to Malibu and San Diego as well as deep into the inland reaches of the state. Countless California residents lost their homes, hundreds of millions of dollars were lost, at least nine people were killed and nearly a hundred suffered serious smoke inhalation and burn injuries.  

Many California residents are still awaiting insurance settlements afterthe state’s wildfires. Some still have suits pending against individuals who may have been responsible for starting a fire and other residents may still be awaiting compensation from their insurance companies. Insurance companies may try to behelpful after these massive cataclysms, but when thousands of people are filing claims, damages are huge, and evidence is spread across countless acres, the wildfire insurance claims process can be daunting.  

NTSB Investigation Finds No Corrosion in San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board has not found any signs of external corrosion, dents, or gouges on the pipeline damaged in a deadly explosion in September. Thus far, there is no reason to believe that any external excavation caused the pipeline rupture and explode that night. The explosion killed eight people, and injured dozens of others. Several houses were damaged in the blaze.

While investigators have not found any signs of corrosion, they have found plenty of welding seams. That does stand out, because the company that operated the pipeline, Pacific Gas & Electric has insisted that its pipes were seamless. Los Angeles personal injury lawyers expect more investigations into this aspect, especially as it indicates that PG&E either withheld information, or was simply not aware of the state of its own pipelines.

The NTSB is also looking at inspections conducted by the company on the pipeline, which was built in 1956. The agency investigators are especially looking at why the company conducted less sophisticated inspections of its pipeline, without using high-tech methods, like sending a robot into the pipe.

PG&E had reason to be concerned about that particular stretch of pipeline. That pipeline had been labeled “high risk” in 2007, and PG&E had planned to raise funds for repairs of the pipeline by billing ratepayers. However, those plans were inexplicably dropped the following year.

The NTSB investigators are also looking at why it took crew members of PG&E approximately 90 minutes to shut off the gas supply to the neighborhood the night of the fire.

Stem Cell Therapy Used to Treat Blindness Caused by Burns

Friday, June 25, 2010

It’s being hailed as one of the most dramatic breakthroughs in the use of stem cell therapy to treat medical conditions. A group of Italian researchers announced this week that they have successfully used stem cell therapy to reverse blindness caused as a result of burn injuries to the eye.

The researchers treated these patients with transplants consisting of the patient’s own stem cells. In all, 107 patients were treated with stem cell therapy to treat their blindness. The treatment was found to be completely successful in 82 of the patients, and partially successful in 14 others. The researchers monitored the patients over a period of years, and found that in some patients, the benefits of the stem cell therapy lasted for up to 10 years.

These persons had become blind because of burn injuries to the eye from splashing heavy-duty cleansers and cleaning solutions at home or in the workplace. These burn injuries had caused corneal damage, and until now, the only treatment programs that these patients could hope for, were corneal transplants in which the patients received artificial corneas, or stem cell transplants from a cadaver. Both procedures are very risky. In a corneal transplant, there's always the risk of infection and glaucoma, while in a stem cell transplant from a cadaver, there is a high risk of rejection.

In this new study however, researchers used stem cells from the healthy eye, and transplanted these into the damaged eye. That means there was no chance of rejection. However, the patients who might benefit from this therapy need to have at least one healthy eye. This treatment will not work in persons who are blind in both eyes. It can also offer no benefits to persons with optic nerve damage or macular degeneration.

Stem cell therapy has been used with some degree of success in treating a number of cancers, and research into its use is ongoing in the treatment of brain injury, spinal cord injury and other debilitating injuries. However, its use in the treatment of blindness and eye injuries has been relatively low profile, at least until now. California burn injury lawyers, who follow stem cell therapy research initiatives, will be very encouraged at these new developments.


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