What happened to the was a 29-year-old mother of three and was not an isolated incident. Experts estimate that each year 650 fires flare up in operating rooms around the country. Some patients recover with scars and emotional damage. Some die from burns and smoke inhalation.
Surgeons and other hospital staff are often as surprised as patients when a fire sparks in the OR.
Experts say it shouldn’t be a surprise when fires flash in ORs. All the necessary ingredients are on hand to spark a conflagration.
These days more and more operations use electro-cautery devices and lasers which when combined with oxygen, alcohol prep and an ignition source can lead to flash fires in the OR.
North Okaloosa Medical Center issued a statement with an update on the women’s condition, promising a full investigation of the fire.
“The hospital deeply regrets today’s event in which a patient sustained burns during a procedure in our ambulatory surgery center,” the statement read. “The staff took immediate steps to respond, including moving the patient to the hospital’s emergency department. The patient was fully alert and able to converse with the emergency department staff during the examination and initial treatment. the woman was stabilized and then transferred to the University of South Alabama Medical Center for further care.
The FDA launched a new initiative to prevent surgical fires, noting that though surgical fires are rare events, surgical fires are also highly preventable. The FDA convened a special workshop to look for ways to stop surgical fires from ever happening and to give medical personnel the tools and knowledge needed to deal with a surgical fires if one occurs.