A Burn Surgery expert witness is a General Surgeon or Plastic Surgeon who testifies about the care and treatment of thermal, chemical, and radiation burns. The treatment of complex burns involves a multidisciplinary approach relying upon Burn Surgeons and other specialists at dedicated burn centers. Although there is no ABMS board certification for burn specialists, most Burn Surgeons complete a dedicated fellowship in Burn Surgery or at least a residency in General Surgery followed by specialized training in Plastic Surgery, Burn Care, and/or Surgical Critical Care. For over a decade, there has been a persistent shortage of qualified Burn Surgeons, and a decreasing number of burn centers, despite an increasing number of burns. Presently, there are approximately 120 regional burn centers in the United States, of which only 65 have joint accreditation from the American Burn Association (ABA) and the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
Burn injuries can result from thermal damage, electrical injury (direct current, alternating current, high voltage), radiation, and chemicals. Burn centers treat substantial burns (>10% of total body surface area), third-degree burns, electrical burns, chemical burns, circumferential burns, inhalation injuries, and other complex burn-related injuries. They also treat specialized conditions causing skin loss including Stevens Johnson syndrome, toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), and necrotizing fasciitis. Whether caring for adults or children, burn centers and Burn Surgeons treat some of the most devastating injuries of any healthcare specialty. A Burn Surgery expert witness is adept at parsing out the issues.
Malpractice claims against Burn Surgeons are extraordinarily rare. More commonly, A Burn Surgery expert witness educates the trier of fact on issues of harm, causation, and prognosis related to chemical, electrical, and thermal burns.