Use of Telemedicine to Improve Burn Care in Ukraine

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Abstract

Global burn injuries have been described as the “forgotten public health crises” by the World Health Organization. Nearly 11 million people a year suffer burns severe enough to require medical attention; more people are burned each year than are infected with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome and tuberculosis combined. Telemedicine has the potential to link experts in specialized fields, such as burn care, to regions of the world that have limited or no access to such specialized care. A multilevel telemedicine program was developed between Massachusetts General Hospital/Shriners Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, and City Hospital #8 in Lviv, Ukraine. The program should lead to a sustainable improvement in the care of burn victims in Ukraine. The authors helped establish a Learning Center at City Hospital #8 in Lviv, Ukraine, through which they were able to consult from Shriners Hospital in Boston, on a total of 14 acute burn patients in Ukraine. This article discusses two case reports with the use of telemedicine and how it has allowed the authors to provide not only acute care consultation on an international scale, but also to arrange for direct expert examination and international transport to their specialized burn center in the United States. The authors have established a program through doctors from Massachusetts General Hospital/Shriner’s Hospital in Boston, which works with a hospital in Ukraine and has provided acute consultation, as well as patient transportation to the United States for treatment and direct assessment.

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