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This blog exists only as an archive. It is a journal that serves as a window into my life as a Marine combat veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan; it was written with no filter, no politics and no agenda. Please feel free to follow my journey from beginning to end. Welcome to my life.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Dermafill: "This dressing is a life saver!"

As you know, Chasing Lions LLC donated $208,000 worth of Dermafill to the Haitian rescue effort. In addition to Dermafill, Chasing Lions also donated the services of our chief medical officer, Dr. Mauricio Consalter, as well as myself to assist in treating patients during this disaster. We spent a little over 1 week seeing a variety of patients with a multitude of injuries caused by the initial earthquake, and countless injuries caused by the poor living conditions that the Haitian people were forced to live in. Our donation and aid were given to a small team, Team Rubicon, who went out to the refugee camps and surrounding areas to treat those who were unable to get to medical facilities and had not received any medical treatment. I worked alongside several volunteer doctors, physician assistants, nurses, and medics; treating over 2,000 injured and countless sick Haitians. The medical professionals I worked beside all had great things to say about Dermafill. The most common observations regarding the product were: the pain reducing abilities; ease of application; versatility of use; elimination of dressing changes; vast reduction in need of follow up appointments; and ability to assure a clean and infection free wound until the wound healed.

In the field, we found ourselves unable to carry enough pain medication to comfort our patients for the duration of their injuries. We were unable to prescribe pain-relieving medications. With Dermafill, all of the patients reported a significant reduction in pain after application; enough that a series of analgesics was no longer necessary to ease their recovery. This was a tremendous help in reducing the equipment carried into the field, and increasing patient satisfaction. The last thing we wanted to do was complicate the treatment of suffering patients with unnecessary medication.

Dermafill was simple to apply; utilizing nothing more than the membrane and saline. The rapid, and simple, application allowed doctors to see, assess, and treat the more critically injured patients. It took less time to treat the injuries than it did to have the assessment questions translated. This allowed our team to treat a greater number of patients more efficiently without any reduction in effectiveness. We saw and treated hundreds of patients every day; and team feedback pointed to Dermafill being responsible for easing the heavy workload.

Dermafill is a true skin substitute so we were able to apply it to most injuries that affected the skin - from major lacerations caused by falling bricks, to camp fire cooking burns. Dermafill certainly was not a cure-all, but it was effectively used to treat numerous types of injuries. Unfortunately, we saw almost all the injuries Dermafill is indicated for during our time in Haiti.

One of the significant problems when treating major wounds in the field is ensuring that the wound remains dressed correctly while the patient heals completely. Our team was faced with a difficult proposition: instruct an uneducated population on proper sanitation methods for cleaning and redressing wounds - all through translators - and supply the injured with enough sterile materials to conduct these dressing changes. This was not an option. Even if we successfully relayed how to change the dressings properly, we could not guarantee the supplies would remain sterile. This could do more harm than good. The other choice was to utilize a dressing that remained intact until the wound healed completely. The choice was simple: use a single application of Dermafill that required no dressing changes.

Most of the patients we saw were unable to get to the few medical facilities in Port Au Prince. And almost non of them had seen a medical professional when we arrived. That being the case, expecting patients to make their way to appropriate facilities for follow ups was unrealistic. Dermafill allowed us to treat wounds without having to follow up for dressing changes or wound inspections.

The conditions in Port Au Prince were unsanitary and the patients we saw all had infection present in the wounds we treated. Every wound needed extensive cleaning, some with field surgical debridement. After cleaning the wounds, we applied Dermafill and were relieved knowing the wound would remain free of infection and debris. Traditional dressings do not offer the same reassurance. In fact, any other dressing would require several dressing changes and a clean environment in which to perform them. This increases the risk of infection significantly. With Dermafill, we could rest easy knowing that our efforts were not futile, and that each patient we treated was quickly on the road to recovery.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times, and in how many ways, Dermafill helped us in our efforts in Haiti. I can only quote Dr. Griswell from the Virginia Medical Center, "This dressing is a life saver!" I am beamingly proud I was a part of this wonderful team, and that my medical services could be put to use in such a time of need. I am equally proud of Dermafill, and elated that I could bring this wonderful product to such a crisis and help thousands of suffering people.

Zak Beck
Chasing Lions LLC
Sales (773) 899-3079
Fax (877) 588-1076


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