Monday, October 4, 2010
Medical Reports: Burned But Not Broken
In a flash afire ignites and you're the victim, but thanks to a caring doctor and some new tools burn victims are getting their lives back. 7's Diana Diaz shows how these victims are burned but not broken.
WSVN -- Dr. Jill Waibel isn't your typical dermatologist. She doesn't just focus on skin, checks or giving Botox, her biggest passion is treating burn victims.
Dr. Jill Waibel: "Burn scars are the worst scars we see in all of medicine."
Much of her time is devoted to patients left with devastating scars.
Dr. Jill Waibel: "It's hard when you meet them because really there is no good burn story. I mean most stories end up you've lost a loved one, you've lost your house, your car. It's usually a horrible human tragedy."
For years, there's been little to treat the skin discoloration and thick, ugly scar tissue that develops after a burn, but Dr. Waibel is using numerous lasers normally used to treat wrinkles, sagging skin and acne to transform patient's skin.
Dr. Jill Waibel: "What the lasers address is the texture of the skin and the colors of the skin. Scars will improve in appearance, and normally it's between 50 and 80 percent."
Ironically, the lasers work by heating up the scar tissue
Dr. Jill Waibel: "Those lasers actually heat the skin up to 300 degrees and take the scar away, and then skin grows in the place."
The doctor became interested in helping burn victims five years ago after a special patient walked into her life.
Dr. Jill Waibel: "I had a patient that was burned in a grease fire. She almost died. She had 50 percent of her body burned. She said you will fix me, and it was really inspiring to have a patient push you as a doctor."
40-year-old Tami Kuether is that patient.
Tami Kuether: "I had third degree burns on my legs, my chest, arms,
my hands and my face."
She says the fire took away not only her looks but her self esteem.
Tami Kuether: "I felt like a monster. You couldn't walk down the street and feel comfortable because you knew people were looking at you and wondering why you look so different than everyone else."
Dr. Waibel has treated Tami's face and body with a combination of lasers. For the last four years, the difference is unbelievable.
Tami Kuether: "To me I have come full circle. Personally, I think the pictures speak for their self."
Even though she can't forget the pain of being burned, Tami says she is no longer broken inside.
Tami Kuether: "Not only has she given me back my appearance, she's given me back my self esteem, my self confidence."
And while patients like Tami see a physical transformation, Dr Waibel says they've also transformed her life.
Dr. Jill Waibel: "These patients teach you a lot about life. It's very inspiring to be around them and be a part of the process to help this population that needs our help."
Diana Diaz: "Dr. Waibel says she believes in the next five years there will be big breakthroughs in lasers to treat burn patients."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Jill Waibel
Snapper Creek Professional Center
7800 S.W. 87th Avenue, Suite B200.
Miami, Florida 33173