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Mil Med. 2002 Jan;167(1):83-4.

Acute management of white phosphorus burn.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, 5005 North Piedras Street, El Paso, TX 79920, USA.


White phosphorus is a combustible solid that is used in many of the smoke devices that are prevalent throughout the military arsenal. Exposure to phosphorus-containing compounds causes serious, often fatal, burns and can be the source of significant morbidity and lengthy hospital stays. I present the case of an individual with serious cutaneous phosphorus burns suffered at a munitions manufacturing plant. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the emergent treatments necessary in such patients and to discuss decontamination in the phosphorus-burned patient. Phosphorus-containing munitions are prevalent throughout the military arsenal, and all military physicians should be aware of these treatments.

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