The cost of a large burn

Mr Christopher Bartimote1, Dr Aruna Wijewardana2, Dr John Vandervord2, Dr Jeon Cha2

1The University Of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 2Plastics, Burns and Maxillofacial Reconstructive Surgery, Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards, Australia


A large total body surface area (TBSA) burn requires extensive management and reconstruction that is provided by multidisciplinary teams, who are located in specialist referral centres. The severity of these injuries and extensive reconstruction, often in unstable patients, can result in costly hospital admissions.


The aim of this study is to determine the actual cost of a large burn that was managed at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) Acute Burn Service and to identify areas for potential cost reduction.


A retrospective case study was conducted on a patient who was admitted to the Burns, Plastics, Maxillofacial and Reconstructive Surgery unit at RNSH. Following ethics approval, data was accessed via electronic medical records to determine the cost of management. Expenditures were calculated using a costing spreadsheet.


The patient suffered a 35% TBSA burn following a motor vehicle accident, where he was admitted to RNSH Acute Burns Service for 94 days. The total cost of management was AUD$660,154.11. The most significant costs were length of stay (AUD$268,510.00), operative management (AUD$166,080.34), materials (AUD$108,617.31) and staffing (AUD$89,206.11).


A large TBSA burn is a significant injury, requiring extensive inpatient management. It was found that the cost of management was AUD$660,154.11. The most significant costs were length of stay, operative management, materials and staffing. Further research is required to minimise the costs of large TBSA burns.

Christopher Bartimote is a 3rd year medical student from the University of Sydney. He has a strong background in Physiotherapy, in which he received the Dean’s Scholar Award for ranking first in his class upon graduation. He has interest in burns management, health economics and rural medicine.

Recent Comments