Patients Catching Fire in Operating Rooms Catches Eye of FDA

Salient due partially to a horrific Naples operating room fire that badly burned a patient, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking a stand against these catastrophic accidents. To try to prevent this type of tragic accident, the FDA recently hosted a webinar aimed to educate industry experts and employees on the risks related to operating room surgical fires. According to the FDA, there are an estimated 550 to 650 surgical fires per year in operating rooms in the U.S. They are usually caused by the combination of heat (an ignition source), alcohol (fuel), and oxygen (an oxidizer) in the operating room.

Experts believe surgical fires are usually caused by the combination of heat, alcohol, and oxygen in the operating room.

In 2008, 68-year-old Frank Komorowski was having a pacemaker installed at NCH Downtown Naples Hospital when he awoke to a nurse screaming, “Oh, my God! He’s on fire!” Komorowski was on fire, and sustained second-degree burns to his shoulder, chest and neck, as well as singed hair. The medical professionals all agreed that an alcohol-based antiseptic, DuraPrep had not dried before nurses said the surgery could begin. An electrical cauterizing device then started a fire, burning Mr. Komorowski badly.

The FDA states that “Despite the fact that the root causes of surgical fires are well-understood, surgical fires still occur.” The FDA’s webinar in June had the following objectives: be able to identify the factors that contribute to surgical fires, identify the lessons learned from the experiences and interventions of the presenters and surgical prevention tools and mitigating strategies, identify the Preventing Surgical Fires Initiative efforts, and facilitate the adoption of risk-reduction practices in your healthcare setting.

Although medical malpractice like operating room fires are very rare, they can cause considerable and devastating injuries when they do occur. Since accidents like these are preventable, they almost never occur without the incidence of medical malpractice. In this case, victims may find legal recourse through a medical malpractice lawsuit. The lawyers at Morgan & Morgan understand the devastating effects an accidental fire or other medical malpractice indecent can have on a victim and their family, and fight as hard as we can to receive the most compensation possible. To receive a case review, simply tell us your story in the free consultation box on the right.

By Staff

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