Data Reveals that About 600 People are Set Ablaze During Surgery

A patient went in for a simply thyroid surgery and instead woke up with her chin gone, her nose deformed and her mouth so damaged that after a dozen reconstructive operations, she still has trouble eating, drinking and breathing. The jury in her medical malpractice suit awarded her $4 million. The doctors told her that an electrosurgical tool had ignited oxygen inside a mask under surgery drags during her operation which sparked flames that left second and third degree burns from her chest to her head. It turns out that surgical fires affect between 550 and 650 patients a year, including 20 to 30 who suffer serious, disfiguring burns. Every year, one or two people die this way. In one state, fires occur in one in every 87,646 operations. That amounts to 28 fires a year in that state alone. Experts estimate that fewer than half of the hospitals in the country conduct operating room drills to prevent and control fires. About 70 percent of surgical fires are ignited by electrosurgical tools that use a high-frequency electric current to cut tissue or stop bleeding; twenty percent are sparked by hot wires, light sources, burrs or defibrillators and 10 percent are touched off by lasers. It is outrageous that a person can walk into a surgical room without burns and exit with burns, and hospitals must do something to reduce this medical malpractice. To read the full story, click here.

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