SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – Hundreds have turned out at LifeShare blood centers in Shreveport and Bossier after two local men suffered extensive burns in a pipeline explosion at Barksdale Air Force Base Tuesday.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Adam Purland and Clay Moock remained in critical condition at Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport’s Burn Care center. Both men endured the first of what will likely be numerous surgeries as donors filled waiting rooms and booked up appointments in response to a call for more blood that will be critical to the mens’ survival.
“I’m just overwhelmed at all these people,” Purland’s aunt, Kimberly Purland said Wednesday while giving blood at the donation center in Shreveport. “This room at the LifeShare blood center is full, and they’re all donating. Every time you turn around, you can her ’em say, ‘It’s for Adam,’ ‘It’s for Adam.'”
The explosion sparked a fire that left the two contractors severely burned and facing a painful and lengthy recovery process. Family members say Purland suffered third-degree burns over 98% of his body.
Stephen Baker, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist at Ochsner LSU Health, has treated many burn victims in the E.R. but he says injuries as severe as those suffered by Purland and Moock present additional challenges.
“Anytime you have a blast injury from an initial trauma standpoint that we see in the E.R., it’s not like a house fire where they get burned and that’s the only injury. When you have a blast also associated with it, you also have to worry about the possibility of traumatic internal injuries as well,” Baker said.
Purland and Moock will require many surgeries to remove the dead skin in order to get to good healthy tissue and begin the lengthy healing process.
“Large burns like this could keep you in the hospital for months with the initial procedures to remove dead skin, (the time spent) waiting on skin to grow, and regrafting – it can be an extremely long process.”
According to Baker, a full-thickness burn consistent with Purland and Moock’s injuries requires doctors to shave off the dead skin, leaving a fatty layer and some blood vessels. Depending on how deep the burn is, a lot of veins can get clotted off, causing the veins to thrombose or become blocked.
A burn surgeon at LSU Health told Baker that inpatient burn treatment can require 20 units of blood.
“Blood shortage is especially an issue with burn patients,” Baker said. “When you have a burn this significant, your bone marrow kind of gets suppressed and your body is not making the blood that it should.”
On top of all that, the process of removing the burned skin can present a danger to burn patients.
“Taking off old skin leaves a lot of weeping of blood and you get a significant amount of blood loss that needs to be repleted in these burn patients to keep them alive and on the road to recovery.”
Burn patients are also susceptible to infection. They are kept wrapped up with different specialized bandages to try and keep an infection from setting in, since the skin is the body’s original barrier from infection.
“Infection is a real risk once you start taking off that amount of skin.”
If skin to so severely burned that doctors are unable to collect skin cultures that can be sent to a lab for cell harvesting, pigskin is an option.
“Pigskin can be used as a temporary barrier and you add that until some cultured skin can be groomed and come in and grafted to the patient.”
Even when a burn patient is technically “healed” and mobile, Baker says additional surgeries are often still required because patients will experience skin hardening and contractures of bones, muscles, and tendons as a result of scarring.
Community members looking to help can do so by donating blood in the names of Adam Purland and Clay Moock at LifeShare.
Baker wants the community to know that blood donation and burns coincide and urges everyone to give blood if they can.
According to the newly created Adam Purland Strong Facebook page, Purland’s blood type is A+. Moock’s blood type is reportedly B- or O-, donations of any blood type help replenish the supply and those made in either of the men’s names will be credited toward their accounts.
In addition to appointments available at LifeShare’s regional blood centers, other blood drive events are in the works specifically for Purland and Mook, including the 20th annual Burn Run hosted by the Brother’s Keeper Motorcycle Club set for this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lake Bistineau.
The annual event supports camp “I’m Still Me,” the ArkLaTex children’s burn camp dedicated to ensuring that children who have suffered burns can “be a kid again.”