Life-saving aid for Bernard: our special plea for help to you

by Ruth Bücker, 2012/03/16

Severe burns are not only extremely painful; they can also threaten a person’s life. Depending on the extent and the affected body surface, the fire victim might suffer from circulatory shock which in turn can result in organ failure.

In particular in poorer countries, where medical and hygienic standards cannot be compared to conditions prevailing at a German hospital, open burns are furthermore a source of danger, as they can become severely inflamed and even cause sepsis.

Under the mask of artificial skin, Bernard has sustained terrible burns. His wife looks after him. -There would be no other place to go for her, anyway. Photo: humedica/Katja Völkl

During the series of heavy explosions in Brazzaville, Bernard Assangou sustained burns to his upper body, his right arm and his face. The injuries we are describing here go far beyond mere superficial burns and the wounds are a terrible and deeply distressing sight.

Media coordinator Katja Völkl had the opportunity to talk to Bernard’s wife nine days after the disaster. At first she had feared for her husband’s life, but now she is slowly regaining new courage and hope. Courage and hope we could give thanks to your help, dear friends and sponsors.

It started at 8:15 in the morning. My husband had just left in order to attend the church service, when the first explosion went off”, reports Bernard’s wife. “In the same moment Bernard heard and saw the explosion, our house collapsed. He hurried back to see if something had happened to us, and he found a pile of rubble. Our children and I were all right.

Shortly after that, the second explosion went off. This was when my husband sustained his severe injuries. His face was burning, his entire face and his arm were alight. I ran into the fire to get him out and took him to hospital.

The series of explosions destroyed their house and all their belongings were buried under the ruins. “Now my husband owns nothing more than a pair of shorts”, the woman tells. “Apart from that, we have nothing left.” Bernard’s wife made her sons go to live with her sister, who is now taking care of the two boys. She herself is staying at the hospital together with her husband.

The surgery to his arm was only one of numerous operations Bernard will still have to undergo in order for him to recover. Photo: humedica/Katja Völkl

On the one hand she is there because she wants to stay with her severely injured husband and wants to care for him, look after him, talk to him and feed him. On the other hand, because there is no alternative. She focuses all her strength on her husband who is lying in his hospital bed, his face covered with a mask of artificial skin.

Before covering his face with artificial skin, we needed to remove the burnt skin”, explains humedica doctor Norman Hecker regarding the treatment and the effect of the mask. “We used a piece of this artificial skin to form a face mask for Bernard. We cut out openings for mouth and eyes and fit the mask to his face.” The burns to his arm needed to be operated and now he needs daily follow-up treatments.

At the moment, Bernard’s vital functions are stable, he is responsive from time to time and he even takes in some food by the natural way apart from treatment with drip infusions.

However, we cannot completely rule out that his state of health might deteriorate once more. Infections are a continuous and dangerous threat that accompanies Bernard on his slow way to recovery and without the necessary laboratory tests the causal agents of inflammation cannot be identified and treated.

Furthermore, the experts of the humedica team diagnosed the necessity of a skin transplantation for the affected parts of his body, above all his face.

When a person sustains severe burns, there can be life-threatening complications if 10 percent or more of the total skin surface are affected. The wounds of Bernard Assangou, who simply was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was injured by no fault of his own, cover no less than 16 percent of his body surface.

Dear friends: this is a special plea for help to you, since this is not about helping as many people as possible, but rather about special aid for one individual patient – in this case for Bernard.

We would like to ask you to support the humedica field of action of individual case aid by means of a targeted donation. Together we can save a man’s life. We can give hope to a family.

Please support us.

      humedica e. V.
      Donation reference “Individual Case Aid
      Account 47 47
      Bank Code 734 500 00
      Sparkasse Kaufbeuren
      SWIFT/BIC-CODE: BYLADEM1KFB
      IBAN: DE35734500000000004747

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