Comparing the short-term outcomes of paediatric burns in the North Queensland population

Dr Helen Buschel1, Ms Rebecca Watson-Brown1, Mrs Debra Phillips1, Mrs Michelle Parkinson1, Dr Bhanu Mariyappa Rathnamma1, Mr Harry  Stalewski1, Dr Daniel  Carroll1

1Queensland Health, Townsville Hospital


Background: The North Queensland Paediatric Burns Service (NQPBS) is not a recognised burns unit with the Australia and New Zealand Burns Association. However, the service is a hub for a large number of paediatric burns in North Queensland (NQ) from Mackay to the Torres Strait. This population includes children from regional, rural and remote areas, as well as a significant percentage of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children.

Previous studies in NSW, the ACT and WA have reported a difference in burns in rural versus urban children (Duke et al., 2012, Hyland et al., 2015). No previous studies have investigated differences within the NQ population.

Aim: To compare the epidemiology of children managed by the NQPBS

Methods: Retrospective chart review of 143 children treated by NQPBS in 2016

Results: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children continue to be over-represented in risk of presenting to the NQPBS. Despite efforts, we are failing to close the gap in this vulnerable population. Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and children from rural areas present with a different pattern of injuries to those in regional areas.

Conclusions: Further work is required to improve outcomes for patients from vulnerable backgrounds within NQ.


DUKE, J., REA, S., SEMMENS, J. & WOOD, F. 2012. Urban compared with rural and remote burn hospitalisations in WA. Burns, 38, 591-8.

HYLAND, E. J., ZENI, G., HARVEY, J. G. & HOLLAND, A. J. 2015. Rural and Metropolitan Pediatric Burns in NSW and the ACT: Does Distance Make a Difference? J Burn Care, 36, e231-7.

Helen is an intern at the Townsville Hospital with an interest in paediatric surgery. She graduated from James Cook University with honours in 2016.

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