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Record Heat Waves Lead to Record Burn Injuries & Associated Medical Issues


Recent heat waves in the US – stoked by our climate crisis –  have caused a huge wave of burn injuries and deaths which include contact burns from superheated pavements and other surfaces. Temperatures here in Las Vegas reached 112 degrees Fahrenheit (F) this summer, however, even on a 98F day, sustained contact with the sidewalk can not only result in third degree burns, but even kill someone.

This summer approached a record from the recent high in 2020 – another year of harsh heat waves. In fact, one person in Las Vegas for example suffered third-degree burns in July after sitting on the pavement in jeans for 40 minutes while waiting for the bus. In addition, there are a number of milder burns that occur each year as well. As a result, this is an issue that safety professionals, government workers, employers, and others need to address when it comes to hazards posed to outdoor workers and others.

The Danger

Contact burns like these can affect everyone, with the very young and very old especially at risk. Other high risk groups include the homeless and those otherwise more vulnerable to their surroundings. They are almost always very deep due to the surfaces that people are falling or otherwise landing on – asphalt, concrete, pavement, rocks, sidewalks – all get very hot, not just from the ambient temperature, but also from the exposure to direct sunlight. The temperature of hot asphalt on a sunny afternoon in Las Vegas can be 180 degrees, which is just below the boiling point of water.

What makes these burns especially destructive is that contact between skin and concrete does not result in any cooling effects, like other objects that come into contact with skin – rather, the temperature stays the same, and the damage can occur quickly; it only takes a fraction of a second to get a deep burn, and most people who end up in the hospital have been in direct contact with asphalt or concrete for minutes, sometimes hours. As a result, internal injuries can follow, including injuries to the central nervous system, brains, spinal cords, peripheral nerves, kidney failure, and liver failure. This means that the phenomenon is much bigger than just burn injuries.

For serious burns, patients often have to be placed in drug-induced comas, and the burn removed by excising the damaged skin in surgery. This then leaves a huge open wound that requires skin grafting procedures.

Contact Our Las Vegas Burn Injury Attorneys

If you or a loved one has suffered from a burn injury, once that you receive the necessary medical treatment, it is critical that you speak with a burn injury attorney as soon as possible to find out if negligence has contributed to your injuries and, if so, if you have any options to bring a claim so that you and your family can ensure that you are taken care of.

The burn injury attorneys of Cameron Law are prepared to help: Contact us today to schedule a confidential consultation and find out more.


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