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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 20  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 48-52

Socio-economic burden of burns: How do the families of patients cope?

Department of Plastic Surgery, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Vinita Puri
Head, Department of Plastic Surgery, Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Parel, Mumbai - 12
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-653X.111783

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Introduction: A majority of burn injuries in India occur amongst women, primarily in the lower and lower middle class population. The cost of burn treatment is high and the burden is increased because of the poor penetration of medical insurance amongst this unfortunate population. Aims: To study the socio-economic impact burn injuries have on the families of the patients. Materials and Methods: The study was performed using a formulated questionnaire. Twenty-five patients who had been admitted in the burns ward and discharged after treatment in 2011-12 were included in the study. The patients/attendants of the patients were interviewed telephonically and the responses were taken from the patient and/or their attendants and results were studied. Observations: All the patients were female. Amongst the 25 patients studied (n = 25), the average age was 29.44 years, with an average total burn surface area of 32.32%. Average overall expenditure was Rs 89,000 (approx. US$ 1750) of which in the early tangential excision and grafting group (n = 8), the expenditure was Rs. 60,000 (approx. US$1150); in the late grafting group (n = 6), it was Rs. 2,25,000 (approx. US$4320); whereas in the conservative management group (n = 11), it was Rs. 35,863 (approx. US$690). None of the patients were covered by medical insurance. Non-institutional loans and/or sale of assets were required by all respondents to bear the costs. Conclusions: The socio-economic burden of burn injuries is very high and government support is the need of the hour. In patients needing surgery, early tangential excision and grafting has a significant cost-benefit advantage.

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