A young man developed acute renal failure and hypercalcaemia following severe burns. The hypercalcaemia was initially controlled by haemodialysis, but it persisted after return of renal function. Plasma PTH was inappropriately elevated, but the nephrogenous cyclic adenosine monophosphate level was low; thus the PTH was probably not biologically active, and may have been artefactually elevated by the moderate renal impairment. Bone histology, showed a normal resorbing surface, but a zero forming surface, implying that the bone dissolution leading to hypercalcaemia resulted from a failure of bone formation. Because of widespread infection and impaired renal function, the hypercalcaemia could not be treated by corticosteroid drugs, mithramycin or phosphate, and there was no response to salmon calcitonin. He was therefore treated with intravenous sodium sulphate, which increased urinary calcium excretion and reduced the plasma calcium. Sodium sulphate still has a role in the treatment of patients with hypercalcaemia.