Doctors explain treatment involved with explosion victims

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The dozens injured in Thursday's blast were taken to several medical facilities throughout the area.

Those 60-plus patients transported from the scene were treated at several hospitals. At least eight of those were treated at Baton Rouge General Mid-City, with at least five suffering from burns. As of early afternoon, Baton Rouge General listed one patient as critical and two in serious condition.

From the moment of the explosion, the clock began to count down what doctors call the "golden hour of trauma."

"If in the first 60 minutes they aren't treated for their injury, the mortality is increased significantly," said Dr. Tomas Jacome, trauma medical director of Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center.

It is why area hospitals like Baton Rouge General, Our Lady of the Lake and St. Elizabeth work and train to respond to trauma emergencies. When the alert sounds, staff members fall into a well-rehearsed procedure.

"The scope of knowledge that you have to have to achieve this, but we don't know what's going through the door, so we have to prepare for anything," Jacome added.

The victims from the Williams plant suffered from various blast injuries and burns. While most reported minor injuries, there are some in critical and serious condition.

"You worry about the most life-threatening injuries initially. Airway, make sure they're breathing, if they have a collapsed lung, if they're bleeding internally and that's what we call the ABCs of trauma," Jacome explained.

Patients were driven and flown to treatment, including several burn patients that were taken to the Baton Rouge General Burn Center.

"As a team, we are focused on stabilizing airways, replacing fluids that have been lost from resuscitation of the wounded areas and treated wounds with antibacterial dressings to combat infection," said Dr. Flip Roberts, chief medical officer of Baton Rouge General.

For the next one to two days, doctors will focus on keeping critical patients stable and preventing complications or infections from injuries.

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