Seeking Health Care Help on Social Media – A Little Girl’s Miracle

Abstract

Aims
A two-year-old girl grabbed hot glue, suffering extensive second- and third-degree hand burns. The Emergency Department prescribed silver sulfadiazine. The following day, a burn clinic prescribed a multi-ingredient cream. The mother added homeopathic remedies (rinsing in breast milk, drinking colloidal silver, cold laser therapy). Despite paracetamol+codeine (10:1), ibuprofen, and lavender oil, dressing changes were terribly painful. Five days of thick yellow drainage, increasing maceration, and no healing led to a surgical consult. The mother, distressed about all this and the pharmacological treatment, solicited prayers and posted photos on social media.

Methods
Non-toxic polymeric membrane dressings (PMDs) were originally designed to decrease pediatric burn patients’ pain. Silver PMDs arrived during a dressing change the sixth day. All topical treatments were discontinued, including rinsing at dressing changes. Saturated PMDs were simply removed and replaced. Applying a flexible PMD around each finger was pain-free.

Results
The mother posted photos showing dramatic improvement after only seven hours: clean, unmacerated, less inflamed wound beds. Pain reliever use decreased and healthy granulation tissue quickly followed. The wounds closed completely, with no visible scarring, after only ten days of PMD use. Many who followed the story on social media learned how to care for their loved ones’ wounds.

Conclusions
Increasingly, patients solicit health advice on social media. WOC nurses can provide a valuable service by offering evidence-based information online. Through social media, this little girl obtained a culturally acceptable, ideal dressing for her complex burns, sparing her from surgery, further pain, and physical and emotional scarring.

References:
Davies, S. L., & White, R. J. (2011). Defining a holistic pain-relieving approach to wound care via a drug free polymeric membrane dressing. Journal of Wound Care, 20(5), 250, 252, 254 passim.
Benskin LL. Polymeric Membrane Dressings for topical wound management of patients with infected wounds in a challenging environment: A protocol with 3 case examples. Ostomy Wound Management. 2016;62(6):42-62. http://www.o-wm.com/article/polymeric-membrane-dressings-topical-wound-m...
Weissman, O., Hundeshagen, G., Harats, M., Farber, N., Millet, E., Winkler, E., … Haik, J. (2013). Custom-fit polymeric membrane dressing masks in the treatment of second degree facial burns. Burns, 39(6), 1316–1320. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.burns.2013.03.005
Kim, Y., Lee, S., Hong, S., Lee, H., & Kim, E. (1999). The effects of PolyMem on the wound healing. J Korean Soc Plast Reconstr Surg, 109, 1165-1172.
Scott, A. (2014). Polymeric membrane dressings for radiotherapy-induced skin damage. British Journal of Nursing (Mark Allen Publishing), 23(10), S24, S26–31. http://doi.org/10.12968/bjon.2014.23.Sup10.S24

Important Notice: The contents of the website such as text, graphics, images, and other materials contained on the website ("Content") are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The content is not intended to substitute manufacturer instructions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product usage. Refer to the Legal Notice for express terms of use.