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Illinois Woman Dies Following Surgical Fire

A southern Illinois woman died after being severely burned in a flash fire while undergoing surgery. This has become a rare but vexing medical error in operating rooms. The victim died six days after being burned on the operating table at the hospital. The victim’s attorney had requested medical records from the hospital and that he had few details about what happened. The state medical examiner’s office said the victim died from complications of thermal burns and classified her death as accidental. The hospital only stated that there was an accidental flash fire in one of the hospital’s operating rooms injuring a patient before being immediately extinguished. The hospital could not state how the fire started but that it responded with necessary and appropriate measures. Surgical flash fires oftentimes are sparked by electric surgical tools when oxygen builds up under surgical drapes. The fires actually occur an estimated 550 to 600 times a year but only kill about one or two people each year. However, worries have mounted in recent years with increased use of electrosurgical devices and the replacement of cloth hospital drapes with those made of more-flammable, disposable synthetic fabric. To read more about the surgical fire, please click the link.

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