Leading Burns and Plastic Surgeon, Ken Dunn Q&A

In the lead up to National Burn Awareness our Medical Trustee, Ken Dunn BSc FRCS(Lond) FRCS(plast) FRCS(ed), Consultant Burns and Plastic Surgeon answers your questions:

You have been the driving force behind the International Burn Injury Database (iBID) data, which captures accurate information from Burn Services about the nature of burns and scalds affecting children in the UK. What impact do you feel this has had on the Burn Care Community?

KWD – The data has allowed the burn care community to see for the first time the true extent cause of the injuries they treat on a daily basis.  It has brought home to us all the enormity of the avoidable injury burden suffered particularly by the young and the vulnerable.

From looking at and analysing the iBID data, what has been the trend or data output that has shocked or surprised you the most?

KWD – It has been the size of the paediatric burn injury problem caused by scalds which appears to be highly resistant to any efforts to reduce it. The fact these injuries leave lifelong scars is tragic.

Where do you see the iBID data and reporting going in the future, and what improvements (if any) will you be making?

KWD – The iBID data is being used for an increasing range of purposes such as the planning for major incidents, burn service planning as well as prevention. It is increasingly being used to monitor the quality and consistency of burn care being provided to the population and to measure the effect of treatment and prevention innovations.

Can you give us an overview of your career path and how you’ve become one of the leading Consultant Burns and Plastic Surgeons in the UK?

KWD – Really!  I started out in the 1980’s in general surgery then moved into plastic surgery working in East Grinstead, Birmingham, Salisbury and finally Manchester where I have been involved in developing the burns and plastic surgery service. I have also been involved in national projects concerning the organisation and stratification of burn services, establishing standards and of course a national database. I have been on the BBA prevention committee since 1994 and its chair for the last decade.

What particular patient/group of patients you’ve treated stands out the most for you in your career?

KWD – Those that are incapable of looking after themselves: the very young, the elderly and the vulnerable. People entirely dependent on those around them to ensure that they are protected.  This of course includes families but also local authorities and government bodies as well as the medical and social care professions.

As Chairman of the British Burn Association’s Prevention Committee, you are one of the champions of the National Burn Awareness Day event in October. What do you think are the key messages people should take away from National Burn Awareness day?

KWD – That burn injury can affect everyone, it is not something that only happens to ‘other people’. It is vital for people to be vigilant and informed about what can cause damage to themselves and their families and what to do about it should it unfortunately occur.

You’ve been a Trustee for the Children’s Burns Trust for many years now and have seen the charity evolve, what are you most proud of?

KWD – Seeing a small charity adapt and evolve into a very cost-effective supporter of those that have suffered burn injury by promoting their rehabilitation and recovery, as well as focusing on what is important to us – the prevention of such injuries.  I am proud to work alongside such a dedicated and committed Board of Trustees, Patrons, charity personal and loyal supporters in reaching out to improve understanding and the need for action.

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