Hospitalized USS Frank Cable sailors progressing
January 5, 2007
Four of the five sailors injured in a Dec. 1 steam leak aboard the USS Frank Cable are doing better, while one sailor remains in critical condition, said Nelia Schrum, a spokeswoman for Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas.
Two of the sailors have been released and two others are in stable condition and have been moved out of the intensive care unit, Schrum said.
The sailor remaining in intensive care is “progressing nicely,” and all of the sailors are expected to recover, said Dr. (Col.) Dave Barillo, a burn surgeon at Brooke.
So far, the Navy has declined to release the names of the injured sailors.
Eight sailors were injured in the steam leak while the ship was in Guam. Two of the sailors were treated and released the day of the accident at U.S. Naval Hospital Guam.
The remaining six sailors were flown via Hawaii to Brooke, the Defense Department’s only burn treatment facility, where Seaman Jack B. Valentine died Dec. 7.
Burn patients typically require between one and two days of recovery for every 1 percent of their body surface that is burned. The sailors suffered burns over 20 percent to 70 percent of their bodies.
In general, burn surgeons try to remove burned parts of patients’ bodies as quickly as possible and then begin skin grafts to avoid infection, Barillo said Wednesday.
He said the sailors’ initial major medical problem was that they had inhaled hot steam, but that issue has been pretty much resolved.
Now the two sailors out of intensive care are undergoing physical therapy to regain motion and muscle strength, Barillo said.
An investigation into the incident has been completed and a report is expected to arrive at Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet this week, where it will be reviewed for about 10 days before going to Rear Adm. Joseph A. Walsh, said SUBPAC spokesman Cmdr. Mike Brown.
After Walsh makes his final recommendations, the investigation will then be made public, Brown said.
But the injured sailors’ families have already learned that the sailors worked to contain the mishap after the steam leak, said Seaman Valentine’s mother Colleen.
“The captain of the ship had a video conference with the families, and he said all of them in their compartment took the time to shut down the equipment before they left the space, preventing further damage to the ship or injuries to others on the ship,” she said in a Dec. 15 phone interview.