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-   -   Fourth degree burns?? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=814042)

Canadjun 12-17-2016 03:14 PM

Fourth degree burns??
 
This is most emphatically NOT "need answer fast".

Was watching a medical program on TV and it showed someone that was critically burned in a car explosion. Mention was made of fourth degree burns. I think I have also heard that term in the past.

I thought burns only came in first (redness), second (blistering), and third (deep tissue) burns? Assuming fourth degree burns are meaningful, what is the difference between third and fourth degree burns?

Velocity 12-17-2016 03:16 PM

IIRC 4th degree destroys tissue, and goes to the bone.

LSLGuy 12-17-2016 03:28 PM

The wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burn is pretty good. No gross pictures either, which surprised me.

At least according to them, 4th degree is into non-skin tissues but not necessarily to the bone. I was surprised to learn that in their explanation, even 3rd degree burns only involve the skin. Albeit they go all the way to the bottom-most layer of skin, which layer is deeper into the body than most non-medical folks probably think.

buddha_david 12-17-2016 04:04 PM

There are actually six degrees of burns. Fourth degree means the burn extends through all skin layers and damages the underlying muscle and soft tissues. Fifth degree burns destroy soft tissue and extend to the bones, while sixth degree destroys the bones themselves. You hardly ever hear about the last two degrees because they are virtually 100% fatal.

Canadjun 12-17-2016 04:38 PM

Thanks!

Melbourne 12-17-2016 10:16 PM

For some reason, not a term I hear used in AUS now. 3rd Degree Burn == Full Thickness Burn for the last 30 years or so. A deep tissue burn would just be called a deep tissue burn.

ruadh 12-18-2016 04:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19859910)
There are actually six degrees of burns. Fourth degree means the burn extends through all skin layers and damages the underlying muscle and soft tissues. Fifth degree burns destroy soft tissue and extend to the bones, while sixth degree destroys the bones themselves. You hardly ever hear about the last two degrees because they are virtually 100% fatal.

Some sites claim there are seven degrees - I'm not sure how the seventh is distinguished from the sixth, but in any case, you're not going to see any such cases except in a morgue. Even fourth degree burns are usually fatal unless they happen to a part of your body that can be amputated.

Amateur Barbarian 12-18-2016 10:59 AM

Why is this information I wish I didn't know?

Little Nemo 12-18-2016 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19859910)
There are actually six degrees of burns. Fourth degree means the burn extends through all skin layers and damages the underlying muscle and soft tissues. Fifth degree burns destroy soft tissue and extend to the bones, while sixth degree destroys the bones themselves. You hardly ever hear about the last two degrees because they are virtually 100% fatal.

Where does rare, medium, and well done fit in on this scale?

LSLGuy 12-18-2016 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian (Post 19861249)
Why is this information I wish I didn't know?

I suppose that if one is ever severely burnt with extensive 3rd degree burns, being able to say "Well, it could've been worse" might be some small comfort. So you've got that going for you.

GusNSpot 12-18-2016 01:10 PM

So, cremation is a 'ten'?

Too soon??

Melbourne 12-22-2016 03:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Amateur Barbarian (Post 19861249)
Why is this information I wish I didn't know?

When I was young, I knew that I didn't want to be a doctor, for two reasons: (1) the burned children (I saw too many burned children), and (2) the hours were /insane/.

I've sinced learned that working with burned children is really rewarding, because they come in looking like /that/, and you cure them. And the hours aren't that bad, because the staff who need your input suck up to you when you are at work.

Plus it didn't matter, because I would never have qualified for med school anyway.

SigMan 12-22-2016 05:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19859910)
There are actually six degrees of burns. Fourth degree means the burn extends through all skin layers and damages the underlying muscle and soft tissues. Fifth degree burns destroy soft tissue and extend to the bones, while sixth degree destroys the bones themselves. You hardly ever hear about the last two degrees because they are virtually 100% fatal.

That is scary. :eek:

Machine Elf 12-22-2016 06:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19859910)
Fifth degree burns destroy soft tissue and extend to the bones, while sixth degree destroys the bones themselves. You hardly ever hear about the last two degrees because they are virtually 100% fatal.

No doubt. I imagine any heat severe and prolonged enough to burn tissue down to the bone anywhere on the body will also cause massive (typically fatal) damage elsewhere on the body, too.

Broomstick 12-22-2016 07:20 AM

I suppose it's possible to have the far end of an extremity like a hand or food suffer a 6th degree burn and have the person survive if the rest of the body is (relatively) unscathed, but I'd think shock would be an issue in the immediate aftermath. It would basically be a traumatic amputation via fire as opposed to crushing or slicing.

Annie-Xmas 12-22-2016 08:38 AM

I had a fourth degree burn on my foot. It was much more painful than snapping off my wrist bone.

But the E/R gave me some dynamite pain killers, and it healed quite nicely.

Ludovic 12-22-2016 08:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 19861268)
Where does rare, medium, and well done fit in on this scale?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 19870323)
I suppose it's possible to have the far end of an extremity like a hand or food suffer a 6th degree burn and have the person survive

I guess we have our answer? :D

buddha_david 12-22-2016 08:54 AM

Here's a news story about a boy who purportedly survived 5th/6th degree burns. Although I question the accuracy of that diagnosis -- in an earlier article, it says his facial burns were "reduced to 3rd & 4th degree", presumably on appeal?

Annie-Xmas 12-22-2016 09:07 AM

If you want to find out more, google "David Rothenberg." WARNING: It's a story of pure, sick evil and so much pain it breaks my heart.

Darren Garrison 12-22-2016 09:17 AM

Look at the photo given for an example of 4th degree burns on the Wikipedia examples. It looks to be mislabeled and at least a 5th degree burn, maybe a 6th. (I've never heard of 5th and 6th degree burns before this thread, but I'm going by the descriptions.)

Elendil's Heir 12-22-2016 10:03 AM

When I was a Boy Scout receiving first aid training back in the Seventies, third-degree burns were the most serious. Now there are at least six degrees... and Pluto isn't a planet anymore!

"Progress," my ass.


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