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Scottsdale  •  Phoenix

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What are Fifth Degree Burns?

Symptoms of a Fifth Degree Burn

All burns are dangerous and can lead to further injury, but fifth degree burns can be catastrophic. Fifth degree burns result in all the skin and most of the muscle layer and ligaments in the area burned away. It is not uncommon to see charred bone in a fifth-degree burn. Char results when the oxygen and hydrogen in the skin burns. When char is present, the wound requires a graft and will leave a permanent scar. Char is possible is third degree burns but is more likely in deeper and larger burns.

Because fifth degree burns destroy the skin and the muscle over and entire area, a loss of function is often a side effect. The human body is not able to regenerate muscle and bone as it does with skin. Grafts are generally necessary to pull the damaged area back together.  Muscle grafting and bone grafting take time to heal, leaving the burn victim unable to use the affected area for a long period of time. Loss of function can also lead to an amputation. To understand the different levels of burns, here is a short explanation of each degree:

    • First degree burns. First degree burns only affect the outer layer of the skin. They are usually superficial and do not cause blisters. And example of this would be a sunburn.
    • Second degree burns. Second degree burns involve the first layer of skin and the second layer of skin. The burn usually appears red and blistered.
    • Third degree burns. Third degree burns destroy the top layer of skin, the second layer of skin and penetrate the subcutaneous tissue below. The site of the burn may appear white in color or charred.
    • Fourth degree burns. Fourth degree burns penetrate through all layers of the skin and into the underlying muscle layer and ligaments. A loss of function in the area is a high probability.
    • Sixth degree burns. Sixth degree burns are the most severe. They include charred bone, with muscle and skin burned away. Loss of function of the area usually occurs.

Common Causes of a Fifth Degree Burn

Fifth degree burns come from the same sources as other burns but are usually more extensive and damaging.

    • House fires. In the United States, nearly 3,400 victims die in home fires every year. House fires not only burn the people who live in the home but also the emergency personnel who come to aid those in peril.
    • Electrical fire. Modern convenience depends on electronic devices. Sometimes these devices backfire and an electrical fire breaks out. Electrical fires are dangerous and hard to control. Large appliances use twice the voltage as smaller appliances, making them more of a danger and a larger fire hazard. Appliance cords in disrepair also pose a threat with electrical burns. Electrical burns can result from contact with exposed wires chewed by rodents, or that have disintegrated over time. Electrical fires are a job hazard for electricians and cable workers.
    • Accidents in the kitchen. Cooking and baking can result in burns, but one of the biggest dangers for burns in the kitchen is hot oil. Oils stick to the skin, causing extended damage to the surrounding muscle and tissue. It is very hard to remove because oil does not come off with water, making emergency removal extremely difficult. Food service workers are particularly susceptible to these types of kitchen accidents.
    • Chemical burns. Certain chemicals can cause burns similar to a burn from flame. This type of burn usually happens in the workplace with professions that use chemicals on a regular basis. Scientists, medical workers, and manufacturers are some of the workers who encounter these dangerous chemicals in their profession.

Who Is Liable for Your Fifth Degree Burn?

If you have received a fifth degree burn due to an injury on the job or at home, you may be eligible for compensation. A Phoenix personal injury lawyer can help determine who is liable and responsible for your medical bills.

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