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It's a very, very interesting article, I'm not sure if it's positive or not! Basically says IART can save people that before would definitely die, but their lives will never be the same. I'm almost in tears after reading it.

Someone burned as badly as Mr. Fink typically doesn't have enough healthy skin left to "harvest" thin slices to replace burned spots. Integra, made by Integra LifeSciences Holdings Corp. of Plainsboro, N.J., would allow Dr. Schurr to immediately cover the head-to-ankle open wound Mr. Fink had become. It would give Mr. Fink precious time to regenerate skin from his few unburned spots for grafts. Integra substitutes as the lower level of skin, but doctors still must graft the victim's own epidermis on top of it.


He was now wearing skin with U.S. Patent No. 4,947,840. His body was covered with sores as his grafts struggled to replicate the seamless cocoon skin naturally forms. His nose had no tip. Just a few wisps of fine white hair curled from his scalp. His son Peter recalls, "They didn't give him a mirror for a long time."

He stayed in the hospital several more months, going to physical therapy to regain strength. His case amassed a file of paperwork more than 3 feet high, and medical bills of more than $4 million. Most of that was paid for through an Illinois state health-insurance plan, after his private insurance was exhausted.


Mr. Fink can talk at length about soil chemistry or weather conditions, but he is a man of few words as topics turn less practical. On their first wedding anniversary after Mr. Fink got home from the hospital, he expressed his appreciation for all his wife had done by giving her a diamond ring. "I have a lot of blessings," he says.

Going out in public has been challenging. "Some people act like they used to act," Mr. Fink says. Others stare or turn away. "Some people flat-ass ignore you. You find out who your friends are." He adds, "I know I don't look very good."


Did his wife make the right decision five years ago? "You can't condemn someone for making choices," he says. "You make them and you don't know if they're good or bad. It's done and you hope for the best. I can't begin to put myself in her shoes."

Mr. Fink says he enjoys playing with his granddaughter and doing what farming he can. Last December, he and his wife celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. He's eager to return soon to an orchard he planted years ago, with apricot, cherry, apple and pear trees. "There's nothing nicer than going down there in the spring, when these trees bloom and give off their scent," he says.

There are some pictures....

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