Having been a burns victim myself it was quite a shock to me to find out recently that there is no specific difference to the way children with burns are treated as to how adults are treated. Even as a layman I can appreciate that children’s skin is going to be different to adults. It is going to react differently, they still have so much growing to do this must affect any scarring and how are they going to cope with disfigurement psychologically as they enter and grow through puberty. I recall how difficult teenage years can be even when you are not marked or scarred, how much harder would it be if you were? And what of their families? How will they know how to support their beloved child? How will they cope with possible guilt if the child was scarred by an inadvertent action of theirs? Apparently many burns are caused by children pulling cups hot tea/coffee over themselves when they have been temporarily left on low surfaces – (well you can’t watch them every single minute of the day).
I was therefore delighted to be invited to join the UK’s first research centre that will look into the causes, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation of all aspects of children’s burns. They are going to look into every single aspect that might affect how children are burnt to, in the first instance stop it happening at all and, in the second, deal with the aftermath in an efficient, timely, humane and effective way should the worst occur.
And so I trotted up to Bristol University to meet the team and have a chat as to how I might help with The Healing Foundation Children’s Burns Research Centre. Bit of a mouthful I know which is why Burns Collective is a better handle.
I was given a guided tour of the current facility at the centre and they explained what and how they wanted to improve and aid their proposed research. Presentations then followed from the heads of the different themes that the research centre will cover. I was very impressed with the well thought out strategies, the enthusiastic team that will be involved that includes practising practitioners, and some of the new innovative ‘inventions’ that are being investigated to help treatment…..dressings that change colour if infection is present, a machine that can sniff out infection without having to remove the dressings – all very sci-fi.
This is such a worthwhile yet exciting project that, of course I was going to help! And so I have joined the band and hope to assist where I can over the 5 year projected lifespan of the research centre. It has now officially launched – my good friend, and colleague, Simon Weston was the great lead ambassador for the day – so I’ll keep you posted as things develop and results are achieved.