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Management of Mass Casualty Burns incidents: Latest WHO guidance on how to adapt normal burns management when faced with multiple victims.

A talk by Dr Ian Norton
Founder & Managing Director, Respond Global

Speaker expertise

Dr Ian Norton is a specialist emergency physician with a wealth of experience in coordinating international emergency health responses to disease outbreaks and disasters.


Mass casualties that involve burns victims are rare but can stay with you forever. Did we learn the lessons from Bali? Or from Ashmore reef? What about from recent conflicts or mass burns events in India and Africa?

Anecdotal evidence was growing that normal burns dogma needed to be adapted in the case of an MCI. Normal Mass casualty triage systems didn’t seem to work for a 75% burn who was still walking….. what about a remote area response with limited fluids, do I still follow Parklands formula? What dressings should we use? Do I bypass the local hospital and go straight to a burns centre? How do I manage a sudden influx into a peripheral hospital, do I bring a burns team out or send the patients in? What if the patient has a non-survivable burn, how do I address palliation decisions?

These are the questions that face first responders, regional hospitals and state burns systems across the world.

Dr Ian Norton had the honour of co-chairing a global working group in WHO to examine the evidence for these and other operational questions around managing a Mass casualty incident involving burns. The group involved experts from NGOs and Military clinicians who had led catastrophic MCI burns incidents in their own countries and a mix of high and low middle-income experience.

The recommendations have recently been published and challenge the traditional approach to the care of burns mass casualty victims in the critical first 24-48 hours.

This talk will examine the thinking around the new recommendations and their application to your practice if you're ever faced with this once in a career event. We all need to know these new tools.

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