For severely burned survivors of the Rhode Island nightclub inferno, the moment of rescue marked the beginning of a life-and-death struggle that will last weeks, months, even years.
Burn injuries are among the most complex and difficult faced by emergency workers. The victims are vulnerable to massive infection, their bodies deprived of their most vital barrier against colonizing bacteria and viruses - the skin. They endure repeated operations to relieve swelling and to reconstruct their bodies. And they contend with the trauma of disfigurement and unfathomable pain.