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Experimental Comparison of Efficiency of First Aid Dressings in Burning White Phosphorus on Bacon Model

Wojciech Witkowski, Agnieszka Surowiecka-Pastewka, Magdalena Biesaga, Tomasz Gierczak

Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Burns Unit, Military Institute of Medicine, Warsaw, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:2361-2366

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.894991

Available online:

Published: 2015-08-12


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to determine effectiveness of first aid dressings in extinguishing burning white phosphorous (WP), eliminating WP pieces from the surface, inhibiting re-ignition on the model (fresh bacon covered with military uniform), and preventing from late re-ignition caused by persistent WP pieces.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Burning WP was extinguished with several dressings: tactical Military Dressing (WJ10), wet gauze, 2 hydrocolloids, and 3 prototypes of hydrocolloids developed by the authors.
RESULTS: All examined dressings were effective in extinguishing WP provided that the entire area of the burning substance was completely covered. Moist gauze was especially effective in extinguishing WP, and also removed and absorbed the majority of the WP mass, preventing deeper penetration of WP particles. The immediate re-ignition was observed when all the remaining examined dressings were removed from the bacon. A stream of water was dangerous, as it splashed and transferred pieces of WP around.
CONCLUSIONS: Moist gauze placed on burning WP for approximately 3 min was most effective in extinguishing WP and removing most of the WP pieces. We recommend moist gauze, used once or twice, as the best primary means for WP elimination and preventing tissue penetration. As a dressing used for medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), or as a second step after complete removal of visible WP, innovative hydrocolloid or hydrogel dressings should be used.

Keywords: Bandages, Animals, Bandages, Hydrocolloid, Burns, Chemical - therapy, Clothing, First Aid - methods, Meat, Military Medicine, Models, Animal, Phosphorus - toxicity, Sus scrofa



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