Though the thought of being the lead care provider in a major traumatic event excites many Emergency Medical Service providers, many more are intimidated by the thought of having to care for a burned patient. The intimidation behind the care of burn patients is not necessarily unfounded, as patients suffering from burns present a unique and often times complicated challenge to those that would care for them. A major factor in this challenge is the peculiarities presented by the actual wounds themselves. Each burn fits into a category, but recognizing which category can often be difficult. Especially partial thickness burns, which separate into two sub categories on their own. That is why it is crucial to identify partial thickness burns along with possible complications and presentations, perform proper treatment, and transport the patient to an appropriate center to provide definitive care. .
As with most burns, it is challenging to determine what classification the burn falls under by only knowing what caused the burn and the time exposed to the cause of said burn. Instead, one must be able to identify what areas have been involved to determine what classification of severity the burn most likely falls under. Under most circumstances, this is usually determined by the layer or layers of skin that have been damaged. Partial thickness burns, sometimes known as second degree burns, are those that have affected the epidermis and varying degrees of the dermis, hence the term partial thickness. .
Unlike superficial, or first degree, burns which only affect the epidermis and Full thickness, or third degree, burns which have affected the epidermis and all of the dermis, partial thickness burns have a greater variance of presentations which is the reason that partial thickness burns are divided into two sub categories. Whilst superficial and full thickness burns are called as such, partial thickness burns are split into two different types based on the depth of the dermis damaged, the other structures damaged, and on their presentations.