On July 4th I received a call about a child who was burned by a sparkler and the level of his parents’ concern got me typing. Very few medical problems cause more pain. And when the patient is a child, often times there is a parent along feeling exquisite guilt. As a kid I grabbed the hot end of a soldering iron, which made my father feel terrible. But I’m certain I learned more about burns that day than any time in medical school.
In general, if you’re reading this page for guidance and if you wonder whether or not a trip to the ER may be warranted, it almost certainly isn’t. Pain with a serious burn is usually the driving force. If junior is back to watching fireworks, then there’s definitely time to think. I say this not to be cavalier, but because the large majority of patients I see in ERs are destined to heal well no matter what we may do.