A Burn Mass Casualty Event Due to Boiler Room Explosion on a Cruise Ship: Preparedness and Outcomes

Tekin, Akin; Namias, Nicholas; O'Keeffe, Terence; Pizano, Louis; Lynn, Mauricio; Prater-Varas, Robin; Quintana, Olga Delia; Borges, Leda; Ishii, Mary; Seong Lee; Lopez, Peter; Lessner-Eisenberg, Sharon; Alvarez, Angel; Ellison, Tom; Sapnas, Katherine; Lefton, Jennifer; Ward, Charles Gillon
March 2005
American Surgeon;Mar2005, Vol. 71 Issue 3, p210
Academic Journal
The purpose of this study was to review our experience with a mass casualty incident resulting from a boiler room steam explosion aboard a cruise ship, Experience with major, moderate, and minor burns, steam inhalation, mass casualty response systems, and psychological sequelae will be discussed. Fifteen cruise ship employees wore brought to the burn center after a boiler room explosion on a cruise ship. Eleven were triaged to the trauma resuscitation area and four to the surgical emergency room. Seven patients were intubated for respiratory- distress or airway protection. Six patients had > 80 percent burns with steam inhalation, and all of these died. One of the 6 patients had 99 per cent burns with steam inhalation and died after withdrawal of support within the first several hours. All patients with major burns required escharotomy on arrival to trauma resuscitation. One patient died in the operating room, despite decompression by laparotomy for abdominal compartment syndrome and pericardiotomy via thoracotomy for cardiac tamponade. Four patients required crystalloid, 20,000 mls/m²-27, 000 ml/m² body surface area (BSA) in the first 48 hours to maintain blood pressure and urine output. Three of these four patients subsequently developed abdominal compartment syndrome and died in the first few days. The fourth patient of this group died after 26 days due to sepsis. Five patients had 13-20 percent burns and four patients had less than 10 per cent burns. Two of the patients with 20 per cent burns developed edema of the vocal cords with mild hoarseness. They improved and recovered without intubation. The facility was prepared for the mass casualty event, having just completed a mass casualty drill several days earlier. Twenty-six beds were made available in 50 minutes for anticipated casualties. Fifteen physicians reported immediately to the trauma resuscitation area to assist in initial stabilization. The event occurred at shift change; thus,...


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