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Boston City Hospital


  • Koch S.  Minutes of Fifth Meeting, December 8, 1942, Boston National Research Council, Division of Medical Sciences, Subcommittee on Burns: December 8, 1942. Courtesy of Massachusetts General HospitalFULL TEXT
At the December 8, 1942 meeting of the National Research Council’s Subcommittee on Burns, Dr. Lund reported on the cases of burns received and treated at the Boston City Hospital. In part, the report said:

One hundred thirty-four cases reached the wards of the hospital and were counted as admissions. One hundred eighty corpses reached the accident floor; in addition, between 10 and 15 individuals, still breathing on arrival at the accident floor, died within a few minutes and were not counted as hospital admissions. About six patients, primarily respiratory, were cared for in three different medical services. During the first 48 hours the two newly opened wards—“G” and “H”—were staffed without regard to service, and during the period of 48 hours these patients were not assigned to any particular service. After the first 48 hours five surgical services cared for the bulk of the patients.

Three methods of local treatment were used: tannic acid, silver nitrate to bodies and arms of about a dozen cases; Vaseline gauze strips, without pressure; triple dye to a large number of cases. The exact numbers of these cannot be compiled as yet.

A few more than a hundred cases received 1065 units of plasma in 30 hours. About 100 units were used during the following two days. Perhaps a dozen cases received albumin in addition to plasma.

Administration of transfusions to about a dozen of the worst cases began on the third day.

All cases received morphine in the accident ward, and during the first 24 hours many received more in the wards.

Oxygen and suction removal of tracheal and bronchial secretions were used in many cases; tracheotomy, in about a dozen.

Chemotherapy was begun at the end of 24 hours and was employed in practically all cases. Most cases received it for a week. And the serious cases are still getting it.

About 60 percent of the cases had lung complications, as shown by x-ray and physical examination. Practically none went on to pneumonia.

Complications involving burn surfaces were rare.

There were 33 deaths; 19 the first day, six the second, one or two each day during the next five, and one on the tenth day. None has died since. About 40 are still under treatment in the hospital. There have been a number of transfers to other hospitals, chiefly Chelsea Naval Hospital.