New Zealand needs skin for volcano victims suffering burns

New Zealand needs skin for volcano victims suffering burns
Copyright 2019 CNN

New Zealand has ordered 1,292 square feet of skin to treat patients injured in Monday’s volcanic eruption on White Island, authorities said Wednesday.

A total of 47 people were on White Island, off the coast of North Island, when the eruption occurred. Eight people have been confirmed dead, and more than 20 others are currently hospitalized in critical condition. Search and recovery operations are continuing for those still missing and presumed dead on the island.

The skin is now needed to treat patients severely injured by the volcanic ash and gas. On Tuesday, medical officials said 27 people in hospital had burns to at least 30% of their bodies and many have inhalation burns that require airway support. Every burns unit in the country is at full capacity.

“We currently have (skin) supply, but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts,” said Peter Watson of the District Health Boards on Wednesday. “We anticipate that we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimeters (1,292 square feet) of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients.”

To put that into context, the average human body has about 11 square feet (1 square meter) to 21 square feet (2 square meters) of skin surface area.

The skin order has been placed and will come from the United States, Watson said. Skin and tissue banks from neighboring Australia, like the