In the wake of a deadly volcanic eruption in New Zealand - doctors are working tirelessly to treat more than two dozen patients with horrific burns to 30 percent or more of their bodies.
To aid in that effort - New Zealand is taking the extraordinary measure of ordering 1.2 million square centimeters of human skin from abroad to treat the victims. Once it arrives… back-to-back operations, lasting up to 12 hours each, will push doctors to the limit of their abilities.
Jorge Villapalos, a lead surgeon for plastics and grafting in London, England, described the surgical process to Reuters.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) LEAD SURGEON IN PLASTICS AND SKIN GRAFT TEAM OF THE BURNS UNIT AT CHELSEA AND WESTMINSTER HOSPITAL, JORGE VILLAPALOS, SAYING: "They’re very complex, they are very radical.
They involve the use of a phenomenal amount of blood products, they can be very, very lengthy.
Let's also not forget that is only the first of many surgeries, and the first of many surgeries that may involve change of dressings, change the allograft - the donor skin - do transplantation of the own patient's skin, what we call auto grafting.
And get those patients out of the cycle of intensive care management and make them return to a degree of functionality." There were 47 people on White Island at the time of the eruption Monday.
Officials say at least eight people have died, nine remain missing... and are presumed dead.