The following is an account by a burn care worker of their treatment of 17 month old child who had scald burns to 30% of his body with about 20% of the burns 3rd degree. The burn care worker is a Certified Master Herbalist and a practicing midwife with over 175 births. She treated the child using John Keim’s methods and B&W ointment as laid out in John’s book Burn Aid.
Burn Treatment the Natural Way for a Third Degree Burn
–by a Burn Care Worker
We are nearly finished treating a serious burn using part of the method that John Keim recommends. I really think that if we had used his method for the whole thing the duration of the treatment would have been shorter.
The little child, a 17 month old child, was seriously burned on 30% of his body when he tipped over a kettle of boiling water his mother had prepared to use for steam inhalation with his sick baby brother. He tipped the kettle then slipped and fell on his back in the scalding puddle.
This resulted in a deep 3rd degree burn over most of his back, under his arm and on his thigh (20%). There were other burns of 2nd degree nature on about one quarter of his head, his arms and elbows and his shoulders (10%).
She immediately immersed him in a tub of cold water and when we got there we used Aloe-vera juice and gel over the whole burn. He screamed seriously through the whole ordeal. Finally we applied B&W ointment and wrapped him with gauze, but it was too early in the year for the Burdock leaves and none were available.
When he was wrapped he immediately quieted and lay resting peacefully. The change was both dramatic and convincing. I had seen it before and it never ceases to amaze me. I assessed the burn as 30% of his body and when I called another person who has been treating burns, he highly recommended that we take him to the hospital since he was so young.
We left for the hospital and like they usually do, they stripped his dressings to assess his burns and felt unable to treat him themselves, which we were not asking them to do anyway. All we wanted was for them to keep him stable and we would take care of the burns. But this hospital had never treated a baby that was burned that badly before and they were terrified.
They called for a transport to a children’s burn center where there were accustomed to treating a child with extensive burns. By midnight the baby was on its way and we were promised a chance to dress him in the morning. Morning found us there at 10am ready to do our job, but we waited and waited on the doctor.
Finally at 1pm the doctrine came and graciously allowed us to dress the burn while he watched. When we were finished he told us that we can keep on doing what we were doing and discharged us, asking us to wait a bit so that they can see if the little one will eat before he goes home. He did and by 7pm we were on our way home.
Knowing what I do now, if that were ever to happen again, I would ask them to keep the child for a few days for hydration. But they did not know, and neither did we, how badly the child was burned.
The B&W ointment and the Aloe-vera had done such a good job of already helping that we were fooled into thinking it was less severe than it was. To make the story shorter, we landed back in the hospital for many days, because of our first mistake of not continuing hydration immediately. The burns progressed nicely but the child was seriously compromised and we needed the hospital’s help to stabilize him because of dramatic fluid loss and trauma to his little body.
The Amish man who had connection with the burn center and helped them to allow us to dress the burns uses Union Salve. The hospital was only comfortable with his method because that was all they had seen done before. Since I am a Master Herbalist, I would have rather used the B&W ointment, but I feel so strongly that the body will heal if allowed to take its course that I went along with them.
We switched to B&W ointment after about a week of using the Union Salve when I felt that the staff was comfortable enough with us that I dared to try it. This change was a hurdle but their top specialist had just come back from a burn seminar where they had introduced the idea of using honey and they were interested in the fact that the salve had honey in it.
They also like the look and the smell of the B&W ointment better. We ran into a snag when the skin began to come off and they saw that it was really 3rd degree on most of the back, thigh and arm pit.
The doctor strongly recommended the use of a chemical debridement (colaginase patches), not trusting that his body would be able to do the job efficiently. The parents, already traumatized and unsure, went along with his suggestion and we suffered a real set-back, that I feel affected us even up until now.
Never-the-less, the staff never ceased to be amazed at how well he did at dressing change time. He sat and allowed us to change his dressing with a minimum of discomfort, although they would continue to insist on giving him some pain medications. You must understand that most burn patients have severe pain at changing time and this causes everyone a lot of distress. But the B&W ointment way truly takes most of that pain away.
Because of the severity of the burn, which the doctors finally acknowledged was mostly 3rd degree, we spent a lot of time in the hospital with him on a feeding tube and IV’s. But always they allowed us to do the dressing and were very impressed with the results.
It took longer for the burn to heal, than I expected it to, partly because we were not really allowed to do the leaves in the hospital until the end when we had won their confidence. Since we could not use the leaves he was on way too much pain medication which definitely slows the healing.
But, no matter how we “cut the cake” the boy is healing well from large 3rd degree burns, without scarring or grafting. This, in my estimation is well worth the effort that I spent in weeks of dressing. He is at home still healing a few stubborn blisters from some of the worst spots and a very happy little boy.
From time to time we had to give the body a break from the B& W and use a cream for a day or two. But the staff admitted to us that they also have to change dressings when they have used one for awhile.
We did get some very unusual blisters all over his third degree areas that were extremely disheartening, just as we thought we were coming along really well. No one that we could talk to knew what they were and John Keim, himself, was in the hospital at the time.
We kept on doing what we were doing and gradually they deflated and disappeared. I am still in search of information on those blisters and if anyone else has seen them, and what they have done to shorten their duration.
One lesson I learned from all this is that to be really effective in the hospital, the parents and the care giver must be on the same page. If I were to do this again with parents that knew nothing of this method I would sit them down and carefully share how it is done so that we would agree in the presence of the doctors and thus, prevent the use of the medication where possible.
I would also teach them about the value of good nutrition in speeding up the healing time. I am convinced that freshly juiced veggies and greens would have been far better in the feeding tube than the sugary stuff they put in the hospital and the hamburgers and fries that they sent up for him to eat.
I feel that if we had been able to do it the optimum way, he would have had IV help and we would have used burdock leaves and no medication. This should have double the healing time. But life is generally not optimum and this is a testimony that it works if you work with what you have and trust the Lord to help you as you go.
Another thing that seemed very important to the hospital was that one of us was trained and certified and had some experience. It was a blessing that I could say that I was. It seems that if one is to have a good experience with the hospital it is very helpful to have someone there who has done it before and is knowledgeable in bandaging to keep the staff happy.
I am also drying the burdock leaves myself so that I will have plenty on hand when I need them. They dry so nicely and are so easy to store, that I hope to have a large batch available.
I am wiling to try to be available to help folks in the middle of this kind of situation.
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