Friday, December 13, 2019

Skin donation, by the square foot, for New Zealand volcano burn victims

CNN has the story, about a little-publicized part of the market for body parts:

New Zealand has ordered more than 1,290 square feet of skin for volcano victims

"New Zealand has ordered 1,292 square feet of skin to treat patients injured in Monday's volcanic eruption on White Island, authorities said Wednesday.

"A total of 47 people were on White Island, off the coast of North Island, when the eruption occurred. Eight people have been confirmed dead, and more than 20 others are currently hospitalized in critical condition.
"The skin is now needed to treat patients severely injured by the volcanic ash and gas. On Tuesday, medical officials said 27 people in hospital had burns to at least 30% of their bodies and many have inhalation burns that require airway support.
"We anticipate that we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimeters (1,292 square feet) of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients."

"To put that into context, the average human body has about 11 square feet (1 square meter) to 21 square feet (2 square meters) of skin surface area.

"The skin order has been placed and will come from the United States, Watson said. Skin and tissue banks from neighboring Australia, like the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria, are also providing skin grafts and supplies.

"The skin grafts come from donors -- like organ donors, skin donors register to donate their skin after death. When skin is donated, usually only a thin layer is taken, like the skin that peels when you are sunburned, according to the Australian government's donation site. The skin grafts are usually taken from donors' backs or the back of their legs.

"The demand for skin is particularly high given the unprecedented number of severe burns to the victims, authorities said Wednesday"

Here's a story with some other detail:
Aussies donate skin for volcano survivors

"The layers that we provide are essentially the epidermis which is the top layer of skin and a small lawyer of dermis underneath the skin," said Dr Stefan Poniatowski, head of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria.

"The immune system of the recipient will reject the epidermis layer, but the dermis will actually incorporate and provide a nice healthy wound bed for the patients' own skin to be grown or applied over the top.

"The allograft skin will be rejected, but it becomes a temporary biological dressing."
"The allograft skin is stored in liquid nitrogen and safely kept at ultra-low temperatures for up to five years."

HT: Philip Held

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