The hope for a better tomorrow

S. Nirmala, P. Stella

Nursing Supervisor, Kauvery Specialty Hospital, Trichy-Cantonment, India



A 3-years-aged child suffered burns (scalds) due to accidental spillage of hot boiling water over the entire lower half of the body, below both hips, when his parents were not at home. He was severely burnt a very large % of his body was affected. Doctors said there was almost zero chance that he would live. He was in the hospital for weeks. However, and amazingly, he pulled through, and is alive today!

The arrival!

The child was brought to us from the Illuppur General Hospital, for further management, by the family who was painfully aware of the dire complications from burns, and the great threat to the life of a burn’s victim. They were highly agitated, anxious, and afraid about being in a new place, meeting people new to them, and also about impending and unpredictable financial burdens.

We were also sensitive to the fact that, in spite of our best efforts at resuscitation, wound management, and infection control, high degree burns relate to high morality and, also that extremes of ages add to the hardships that shall be encountered.

When we were beside the grieving mother, she told us she wanted her baby to survive at all costs. We almost cried. She held the baby for a little while and placed him back on the bed. Then she hugged us and cried. We hugged her back and cried, too. At that moment, I understood what it meant to be ‘the nurse.’ This was our great challenge, to address the emotional struggles of the family, who were already in shock because of the unimaginable mishap that occurred to their firstborn family.

At every step of the treatment, there were hurdles. The baby was brought here with severe and extensive burns and hemodynamic instability. The initial concerns were fluid replacement and resuscitation, to be offered to a child with no peripheral vascular access. The parents were counselled, and convinced, about the need for a centrally placed vascular access.

We were very concerned about organizing collagen application for wound cover, and prevention of infection. Next on our list was pain management. All posed challenges, for us, and also for the child who was confined to a bed in a room, within its four walls.

As for every such patient, we faced problems with initial resuscitation, wound management, hemodynamic stability, pain management, and emotional support. Oftentimes one of us would be alone with our patient, doing bottle feedings, changing diapers, administering medications, performing assessments, and taking vitals round the clock. Every day, we held our little patient and tucked him into bed. We would write a simple note for his mother that said “Your angel did great today!”.

The next week, even though one of us may move to a different floor of the hospital, the mother would find us to give a hug and thank us profusely for taking care of her child. Gradually, with teamwork and the management of our doctors, the baby recovered completely and was discharged successfully, after a period of two months.

We often look back on that experience, as a reminder that so often the patients we treat – and especially their families-need someone to listen, support, and nurture them, too. Nursing isn’t just about the technical help we provide; it’s also about the compassion we show, serving as a patient’s advocate in every way we can.

We are happy that we were able to produce a wonderful result. At the end of the day, all of our work towards the betterment of our patients; successful outcomes not only make the family happy but give us caring health professionals the hope for a better tomorrow for our patients.


Ms. S. Nirmala

Nursing Supervisor


Ms. P. Stella

Nursing Supervisor