John W. Keim is a Amish alternative practitioner from Mills, Pennsylvania who developed a treatment for dressing burns wounds that keeps the bandaging from sticking to the wound when the dressing is changed.
The treatment dresses the wound with B&W ointment and then puts scalded burdock leaves over the wound before wrapping the wound with gauze. This enables the wound be changed twice a day without the pain that is normally associated with gauze sticking to the wound.
The following is a chapter from John W. Keim’s book “Comfort for the Burned and Wounded” detailing how he discovered this treatment after changing a serious burn on his two year old child where the removal of the gauze caused his child great pain and crying.
I cried and praised the Lord when I read this chapter and I hope it is a blessing to you also.
This book is copyrighted but I consider the following excerpt from his book as part of a review of the book. The can purchase Comfort for the Burned and Wounded online for $11.95.
The Search for a Better Treatment
–John W. Keim
As a consequence of a sudden accident, boiling water had scalded the entire chest and abdominal area of our two-year-old son. When we removed his clothes, to our horror the skin slid off along with them. An area 2 inches in diameter under the navel was scalded to the third degree.
After we discussed all the possible treatments we could remember, we tried cold water first. Next a lard-and-flour mixture was tried. Union Salve was then applied, but because the child cried that the salve burned so much, we removed it. Finally, we applied a heavy coating of a mild herbal salve and gauze wraps for overnight.
In the morning the salve had melted and the gauze had glued itself to the skinless body parts. When we tried to remove the gauze, we discovered it had struck to every inch of the entire chest and abdomen.
We tried removing the affixed gauze one-sixteenth of an inch at a time and, later, one inch at a time. But either way caused pain and bleeding, and the child’s screams created a great deal of sweating for the caretakers. After half an hour of this unimaginable ordeal, I decided I could never again dress a burn victim in this manner.
Thoroughly perplexed, I told the others to make the boy as comfortable as they could while I made a trip to town with our horse and buggy. I planned to check the drugstores for better dressings, but after changing clothes and hitching up the horse, I really wondered what good would be accomplished by going to town.
For some time we had been receiving letters from relatives in another State about two of their children who had been badly burned in a flash fire. Their local hospital had transferred the children to a burn unit in a large hospital a long way from the parents. For three months we had been reading the pitiful stories of these children’s suffering.
I could not bear the thought of my own son’s screams and pleading that, we were told, were a daily part of these children’s dressing changes and cleaning.
(Later I read that nurses who care for patients in burn units take special training to enable them to go on with their duties regardless of the screams of their patients. Even experienced trauma nurses claim that changing dressing on child burn patients is the most heartrending work they do.)
Instead of leaving for town, I turned back toward the house, but I also wanted to be somewhere alone. I knew by staying around the house I could continually be distracted by the incoming public.
I left word at the house that I had changed plans, that instead of going to town, I was going into the woods to think and pray. I meantioned I did not want anyone to call or search for me for approximately one hour.
Leaving the horse hitched and tied to the rail, I left at a rapid pace, follwing the edge of the field leading toward the woods behind our home. The old wagon tracks on the way were by then pretty well covered with a variety of self-seeded weeds, but I paid no attention to any of my surroundings on this trek. My thoughts were heavily embedded on what I would do or find in the woods.
I thought of how God create the Earth. I honestely felt He kept the poor in mind while Earth was being created. If that were true, the people living on islands without hospitals and drugstores should also be able to find necessities for their needs. And since even such primitive people had fire, they also would have burns.
I tried to think of all the things a man might find on an island to help treat such burns. I thought of water, mud, rocks, bark, wood, leaves.
As leaves crossed my mind, I thought of the holly leaves I had seen in our school at Christmastide when the teacher brought a wreath to show us. The leaves were smooth and shiny. Surely they would not stick to an open wound. But, I thought, we do not have smooth, shiny leaves like those. At that very time I was walking through a heavy patch of plantain (sow-ear in Dutch) leaves. I had nearly passed through them when suddenly my subconscious realized they were similar to what I was looking for.
Using my hat as a gathering vessel, I filled it with fresh plantain leaves. Taking the leaves home, we applied B.F.C. Salve to the burn area and then covered it with a single layer of the fresh plantian leaves. We repeated this twice a day.
Within five days the entire scalded area was covered with new skin. This was even true for the sections scalded to a third-degree burn. The more remarkable, and satisfying to a father, consequence of this treatment was that it causes little or no pain to the patient in direct contrast to the accepted burn treatment of the day.
Along with the dressings we supplemented the diet with extra fresh fruits and vegetables. Depending on the availability of food suitable for juicing, time and help needed for extraction and financial means, a program was outlined to support my son’s body during the healing process.
In our many subsequent patients, it has seldom taken more than seven days to get complete new skin coverage on second and third-degree burns. This, of course, varies with the precentage of body parts injured and the previous health of the patient.
Amazingly, through over two decades of using these dressings we have never had an infection. We have seen only two cases of scarring, both of which were minimal, and we feel that in one of those cases the scarring might have been avoided if the parents had better understood the correct method of dressing.