The Victoria Hospital in Bengaluru has set up Karnataka’s first skin bank with a fund infusion of Rs. 60 lakh from Bangalore Rotary Midtown. The amount is used for importing cold storage and other medical equipments.
The initiative is part of the 1200-bed hospital’s efforts to give a fillip to its 50-bed Mahabodhi Burns Centre within the Victoria Hospital where patients require skin transplant. This makes Karnataka on par with five hospitals in the country which set up a skin bank earlier. These include Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Mumbai, Surya Hospital, Pune and Chennai Skin Foundation & Yesudian Research.
The skin bank is expected to provide an immediate solution to patients suffering second and third degree burns due to fire electric burns, injuries or accidents, acid injuries among others, by performing immediate skin transplant, said Dr P K Devdas, dean and director, Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute (BMCRI).
Two plastic surgeons are trained by the National Burns Centre, Mumbai. The donated skin can be preserved till five years, and any hospital could utilise it free of cost. Efforts to set up a dedicated helpline are on the cards. It will enable patients to source the skin for those suffering from burns apart from life-threatening skin injuries like pemphigus, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN) burns, he said.
Dr M Shankarappa, plastic surgeon, at Victoria Hospital, said that the demand for treatment is huge and the existing infrastructure is insufficient as patients from across India access this facility.
According to experts, burn victims succumb primarily due to loss of body fluids and electrolyte imbalance resulting from it. Placing preserved skin on such wounds stalls this fluid loss.
In 2013, as per the Bangalore Injury Surveillance Programme (BISP) by NIMHANS, estimated that the ratio of deaths to hospitalisation to minor burns in Bangalore will be 500:5,000:15,000.