Impoverished Indian child recovers from extensive burns
A tiny hovel on the outskirts of a dusty provincial town in Madhyar Pradesh State in India is home to a poor family of six. Dirt floors, no sanitation, no beds (they sleep on the floor) and no electricity. Sun-baked cow dung seals the cracks in the paper thin walls and on a lighted kerosene cooker a kettle boils.
Five year old Pawan runs into the room and knocks over the cooker which explodes, drenching him in flames. He suffers severe burns to 40% of his body and is rushed to the Burns Unit at a large private hospital nearby. They admit a limited number of impoverished burns victims for free treatment.
But there is a catch.
The burns must be healed sufficiently within a week, (an impossible task in most cases), when the patient will be sent home and infection will most likely bring his life to an end.
Also, being from a poor family, follow up treatment is highly unlikely and unhygienic surroundings will threaten his survival. In fact, many of these burns victims don’t even make it to a hospital, and die at home.
The burn surgeon’s assessment
Visiting Pawan’s bedside on day 4, I note that his entire buttock region has been badly burnt, the whole area glistening under the ceiling light. His surgeon says the whole wound is infected, so a skin graft, which is the only thing that will save him, can’t be applied. The boy is going to die.
“Do you think the wheatgrass spray might help?” she asks. “He must be discharged in three days.”
Having seen wheatgrass heal many nasty burns, I told her I was sure it would.
At the surgeon’s request, I sprayed just one small area of the burn. The boy winced a little and a few minutes later said it wasn’t painful any more.
An amazing outcome
The next day, the surgeon told me that overnight the infection had completely disappeared. The wound surface had dried out and no longer losing fluid. A skin graft would now not be necessary!
The boy’s burns recovered so well that he was discharged several days later to be reviewed at the Outpatient Department.
I think it is fair to say that wheatgrass saved this young boy’s life.
Dr. Chris Reynolds.