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Burns or Phytophotodermatitis, Abuse or Neglect: Confusing Aspects of Skin Lesions Caused by the Superstitious Use of Fig Leaves

Abali, Ayse Ebru Sakallioglu MD*; Aka, Mehmet MD; Aydogan, Cem MD; Haberal, Mehmet MD, FACS*†

doi: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e318257d877
Case Report

As a superstition, homemade decoctions are believed to be beneficial for several diseases. This kind of medical therapy, however, can lead to serious adverse effects. In this report, we present three cases from a single family. Each of the family members developed phytophotodermatitis after the application of a fig leaf decoction. The most severe effect was in the case of a 13-year-old boy who had been bathed with the fig leaf decoction; the two other cases were the parents who prepared and applied the medicine to their child’s skin to heal the boy’s congenital mental–motor retardation. Silver sulfadiazine was used for wound care. The mother was discharged 6 days after admission, the father, after 8 days, and the boy, after 14 days. Burnlike wounds in all three cases healed completely.

From the *Department of General Surgery, Burn and Fire Disasters Institute, Baskent University, Ankara Burn Center; and the Department of General Surgery, Baskent University, Ankara, Turkey.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Address correspondence to Mehmet Haberal, MD, FACS, Baskent University, 1. Cadde No: 77 Bahcelievler, Ankara 06490, Turkey.

© 2012 The American Burn Association