Managing burn victims of suicide bombing attacks: Outcomes, lessons learnt, and changes made from three attacks in Indonesia

Harvey Chim, Woon Si Yew, Colin Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Introduction: Terror attacks in Southeast Asia were almost nonexistent until the 2002 Bali bomb blast, considered the deadliest attack in Indonesian history. Further attacks in 2003 (Jakarta), 2004 (Jakarta), and 2005 (Bali) have turned terrorist attacks into an ever-present reality. Methods: The authors reviewed medical charts of victims evacuated to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) Burns Centre during three suicide attacks involving Bali (2002 and 2005) and the Jakarta Marriott hotel (2003). Problems faced, lessons learnt, and costs incurred are discussed. A burns disaster plan drawing on lessons learnt from these attacks is presented. Results: Thirty-one patients were treated at the SGH Burns Centre in three attacks (2002 Bali attack [n = 15], 2003 Jakarta attack [n = 14], and 2005 Bali attack [n = 2]). For the 2002 Bali attack, median age was 29 years (range 20 to 50 years), median percentage of total burn surface area (TBSA) was 29% (range 5% to 55%), and median abbreviated burn severity index (ABSI) was 6 (range 3 to 10). Eight of 15 patients were admitted to the intensive care unit. For the 2003 Jakarta attack, median age was 35 years (range 24 to 56 years), median percentage of TBSA was 10% (range 2% to 46%), and median ABSI was 4 (range 3 to 9). A large number of patients had other injuries. Problems faced included manpower issues, lack of bed space, shortage of blood products, and lack of cadaver skin. Conclusion: The changing nature of terror attacks mandates continued vigilance and disaster preparedness. The multidimensional burns patient, complicated by other injuries, is likely to become increasingly common. A burns disaster plan with emphasis on effective command, control, and communication as well as organisation of health care personnel following a 'team concept' will do much to ensure that the sudden onset of a crisis situation at an unexpected time does not overwhelm hospital manpower and resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberR15
JournalCritical Care
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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