The Healing Touch Pressure Garment Clinic was created to help in the healing process of burn victims by providing custom made garments that would aid in the prevention or reduction of burn scars. The Healing Touch Clinic was established in 2012 by Gay Lynn McCrady, SIM missionary, working together with Iyabo Dung, local Nigerian seamstress. The inspiration for the clinic came after seeing so many patients left scarred and disfigured after suffering burn injuries. While a patient might survive the actual burn and hospitalization, there is a long process of wound healing that requires preventative attention to avoid debilitating problems. The clinic’s goal is to help burn victims achieve the best healing possible through range of motion exercises, wearing of pressure garments, and education in wound healing.
This clinic is for patients who have healed from burns within three to eight months. We measure the patient and sew a garment out of elastic type material that acts as an outer layer of skin. The garment puts pressure on the healing skin helping it to flatten out and therefore preventing it from developing into thick scars or reducing scars that have began to form. The patients will wear the garment up to one year or more depending on when the skin is fully healed.
The clinic also provides seminars in fire safety and first aid for the burn patient to schools, churches, and community groups. These seminars help educate adults and children in an effort to help reduce fires and the incidents of burn injuries. The clinic seeks to be a witness to the patients that enters its doors, for not just their physical healing, but their spiritual healing as well. The clinic is located in Jos and serves the needs of patients in the surrounding middle belt area of Nigeria. Future plans are to open another clinic in Northern Nigeria to serve the needs of the people in that area.
Caught in the midst of crisis and watching people running down the street, Edwin heard a loud bang. Next thing he knew he was in the hospital, with burns on one side of his face, both arms and both hands. The loud noise he last remembers hearing was a petrol bomb exploding against the building he was standing beside. Edwin spent two months in the hospital before being discharged. He came to Healing Touch about three months later. At that time he had developed thick scarring on both arms and hands and had limited movement in both wrists and fingers. Edwin was fitted for pressure garments for both arms and hands. He wore the garments for one year and it reduced the scars and made his skin smoother. Edwin commented, “I found the garments very helpful. They helped flatten the scars on both arms and it reduced itching. I feel uncomfortable without them.”
Four year old Ogechi was caught in a house fire and suffered burns to her face, left arm and hand. She came to Healing Touch six months after the incident and she had already developed scarring and had contractures of her left arm and hand. Ogechi was fitted with a pressure garment for her left arm and face after surgery to release the contracture of her shoulder and elbow. She wore the garment for just a few months and we are hopeful that it will reduce her scars as well.