Texas Firefighters Remain in Galveston Burn Unit

Texas Firefighters Remain in Galveston Burn Unit

News Feb 20, 2013

Feb. 20--When Bryan firefighters suffered severe burns from battling a structure fire Friday, they were immediately flown to the Blocker Burn Unit in Galveston, one of the top centers for serious burns in the nation.

Fire officials have said little about the extent of injuries to firefighters Ricky D. Mantey Jr., 30, and Mitchel Moran, 21, who remain in serious condition at the University of Texas Medical Branch hospital.

The men suffered the burns trying to save firefighter Eric Wallace, 36, who died from injuries sustained at a fire at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Groesbeck. Firefighters Mantey, Moran and Greg Pickard, 54, were dispatched to extract Wallace after he signaled he was low on air and needed help.

Pickard, who was flown to Galveston with the other men, died from his wounds at the hospital on Saturday.

While the extent of the Bryan firefighters' wounds remains unclear, to be admitted to the specialized burn unit patients must have either suffered burns across more than 20 percent of their bodies or on critical areas such as the face, hands or reproductive organs, or inhaled chemicals or suffered electrical injuries.

Dr. David Herndon, professor of surgery and chief of burn services at the University of Texas Medical Branch, is the treating physician for Mantey and Moran. Herndon could not divulge details regarding his patients, but spoke with The Eagle about the general type of care provided at the first burn center in the United States to become certified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Burn Association.

Patients are generally kept in rooms heated to between 80 to 90 degrees with higher than average humidity, Herndon said. One of the primary afflictions of burn victims, he noted, is skin loss and resulting fluid leakage.

Fluids on the skin can make patients cold, he said, and the climate-controlled rooms help keep them more comfortable. Similarly, the unit is equipped with air beds to relieve pressure off of patients' backs.

The unit is equipped with specialized showers, tub rooms and feeding tubes. The nurses and doctors specialize in respiratory support and treating infections. The unit was founded in the 1960s by UTMB President Dr. Truman Blocker, a plastic surgeon who treated Japanese patients disfigured by American atomic bombs and victims of the 1947 Texas City disaster, the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history.

"Burn victims are best transferred to certified burn units because after a burn happens over a large portion of their body, a large amount of fluids leak out through the burn wound that needs to be replaced," Herndon said. "Patients can develop a burn shock."

Continue Reading

Burn victims frequently breathe in smoke and suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning, Herndon said. Doctors provide ventilators and windpipe tubes to support breathing. Smoke can cause the inner lining of the lung to fall off, he said, and patients received specialized treatments to remove smoke particles and fluid leakage in the lungs.

Burns typically cause the skin to turn hard, like leather, Herndon said. When harder skin doesn't expand, it can block blood flow to fingertips and toes, and can complicate breathing, he said.

Wounds over large areas need to be removed, he said, and burned areas need to be washed regularly so that harmful bacteria does not grow in secreted fluid.

It's typical for the unit to treat injured firefighters, Herndon said, but acknowledged the situation with the Bryan men was unfortunately unique.

"Firefighters are seen in burn units all around the U.S. on a daily basis, and firefighter injuries in Texas have been fortunately low," Herndon said. "Though we do see firefighters hurt in the line of duty, it is an unusual circumstance to have such a terrible tragedy."

Bryan Fire Chief Randy McGregor broke encouraging news at a Tuesday press conference. He announced that Mantey and Moran for the first time on Tuesday were able to walk, talk and hug their family members. City officials remain optimistic about their recovery.

"They have a long way to go, as I've mentioned, and I'm going to ask that you continue to pray for these folks and their families," McGregor said at the press conference.

Copyright 2013 - The Eagle, Bryan, Texas

The Eagle, Bryan, Texas
Allen Reed
Crestline Coach attended the Eighth Annual Saskatchewan Health & Safety Leadership conference on June 8 to publicly sign the “Mission: Zero” charter on behalf of the organization, its employees and their families.
ImageTrend, Inc. announced the winners of the 2017 Hooley Awards, which recognize those who are serving in a new or innovative way to meet the needs of their organization, including developing programs or solutions to benefit providers, administrators, or the community.
Firefighters trained with the local hospital in a drill involving a chemical spill, practicing a decontamination process and setting up a mass casualty tent for patient treatment.
Many oppose officials nationwide who propose limiting Narcan treatment on patients who overdose multiple times to save city dollars, saying it's their job to save lives, not to play God.
While it's unclear what exact substance they were exposed to while treating a patient for cardiac arrest, two paramedics, an EMT and a fire chief were observed at a hospital after experiencing high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, and mood changes.
After a forest fire broke out, students, residents and nursing home residents were evacuated and treated for light smoke inhalation before police started allowing people to return to their buildings.
AAA’s Stars of Life program celebrates the contributions of ambulance professionals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in service to their communities or the EMS profession.
Forthcoming events across the country will provide a forum for questions and ideas
The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) has released its 2016 Annual Report summarizing HCOHSEM’s challenges, operations and key accomplishments during the past year.
Patients living in rural areas can wait up to 30 minutes on average for EMS to arrive, whereas suburban or urban residents will wait up to an average of seven minutes.
Tony Spadaro immediately started performing CPR on his wife, Donna, when she went into cardiac arrest, contributing to her survival coupled with the quick response of the local EMS team, who administered an AED shock to restore her heartbeat.
Sunstar Paramedics’ clinical services department and employee Stephen Glatstein received statewide awards.
A Good Samaritan, Jeremy English, flagged down a passing police officer asking him for Narcan after realizing the passengers in the parked car he stopped to help were overdosing on synthetic cannabinoids.
Family and fellow firefighters and paramedics mourn the loss of Todd Middendorf, 46, called "one of the cornerstones" of the department.