Monday, December 12, 2011

Prevent Surgical Fires

To prevent surgical fire, the Food and Drug Administration is building a coalition of both private and public healthcare organizations.  

Every year, an estimated 550-650 surgical fires happen in U.S. operating rooms. Surgical fires are fires that occur in, on, or around a patient who is undergoing a surgical or medical procedure.  

Surgical fires can cause disfiguring second- and third-degree burns. Fires that happen in a patient's airway can be fatal.  

According to the FDA website, this is how surgical fires happen: 

·  Oxidizer: Gases used during surgery, such as oxygen and nitrous oxide, and room air
·  Fuel: Flammable objects, including surgical drapes, alcohol-based skin preparations, airway tubing, and even the patient’s hair or body
·  Heat: Tools such as electrosurgical (tissue-cutting) tools, lasers, fiber-optic lights and cables that can generate heat or sparks and cause a fire. 

Here are some questions that patients should ask their doctors and healthcare providers: 

-Is the staff trained in preventing, recognizing, and putting out surgical fires?
-What precautions are in place to protect patients from a fire?
-Are water and CO2 fire extinguishers readily available in the operating room?

For more information, visit the FDA website 


At Snyder & Wenner we strive to keep the community safe when hospital care is involved. We have become patient safety advocates by representing patients who have been harmed from hospital error. If you know someone who has been seriously harmed from a hospital error please feel free to contact us. The Snyder & Wenner website can be accessed by clicking the "Patient Safety Advocates" tab above. 

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

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