Sat, Jul 04, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Water Park Inferno: Life-saving skin arrives from the US

PREFERRED TREATMENT:Thousands of square centimeters of cadaver skin have arrived for treating the most serious burn cases from last Saturday’s water park tragedy

Staff writer, with CNA

The first shipment of cadaver skin from the US to be used for the treatment of hundreds of victims of the Formosa Fun Coast (八仙海岸) water park powder explosion and ensuing fire was scheduled to arrive in Taiwan last night, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director-General Chiang Yu-mei (姜郁美) said.

The shipment of 37,000cm2 of cadaver skin, transported by airplane, was slated to arrive late last night, Chiang said, adding that a second shipment of cadaver skin from the US, about 60,000cm2, is scheduled to arrive on July 12.

A shipment of cadaver skin from the Netherlands is also expected to arrive soon, Chiang said.

All of the cadaver and artificial skin is to be stored at a private organ preservation laboratory in Taichung immediately after its arrival, Chiang said, adding that the FDA has set up a transparent information platform for all medical supplies required by hospitals nationwide.

A total of 495 people were injured follwing the explosion of colored cornstarch on Saturday last week at Formosa Fun Coast in New Taipei City’s Bali District (八里). According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, 211 people remain in critical condition.

A Grateful Taiwan

As of Thursday morning, two people had died of their injuries.

On Thursday, Minister of Health and Welfare Chiang Been-huang (蔣丙煌) said he was grateful for China’s offer to provide medical assistance, including donations of cadaver skin, but added that it should first be confirmed that the skin had not been harvested from executed prisoners.

China has offered human skin grafts worth 20 million yuan (US$3.2 million) to help in the treatment of the burn victims.

Chinese health authorities have also assembled a team of experts specializing in burn treatment that is ready to head to Taiwan at a moment’s notice.

The ministry said that it would first look into whether the skin was harvested from executed convicts.

It added that due to regulations, Chinese doctors are not allowed to treat those injured in last weekend’s blast.

Cadaver skin is the preferred treatment for severe burn patients until a graft of the patient’s own skin can be applied.

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