White phosphorus burns and arsenic inhalation: A toxic combination

Allison E. Berndtson, Alice Fagin, Soman Sen, David G Greenhalgh, Tina L Palmieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

White phosphorus is a common industrial and military compound, which can cause severe thermal and chemical burns beyond what would be predicted from body surface area alone. The authors present a rare case of a 45-year-old male patient who suffered white phosphorus burns combined with arsenic inhalation because of an industrial accident. The presented case is used to review the history and the toxicities of these chemicals as well as current methods of treatment. A literature review was performed to summarize the current knowledge of white phosphorus burns, as well as arsenic poisoning, and no similar case reports of the two combined were found. The patient ultimately recovered and was discharged, though with significant chronic complications. This case highlights the risk of burns and inhalation injury present in industrial manufacturing jobs, as well as the potential severity of these conditions. The systemic effects of chemicals absorbed across burned skin and via inhalation were the main contributors to our patient's severe illness, and required more intensive treatment than the burns themselves. Arsenic toxicity is rare and could easily have been missed without the appropriate patient history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Research
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2014

Fingerprint

Inhalation Burns
Poisons
Arsenic
Phosphorus
Burns
Inhalation
Arsenic Poisoning
Chemical Burns
Occupational Accidents
Body Surface Area
Hot Temperature
History
Skin
Wounds and Injuries
Therapeutics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery

Cite this

White phosphorus burns and arsenic inhalation : A toxic combination. / Berndtson, Allison E.; Fagin, Alice; Sen, Soman; Greenhalgh, David G; Palmieri, Tina L.

In: Journal of Burn Care and Research, Vol. 35, No. 2, 03.2014.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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