Have you or a loved one become the victim of a surgical fire?

Patients are sometimes further injured during medical procedures when doctors or other medical professionals trigger surgical fires.

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How do Surgical Fires Occur?

Based on recent data, there are approximately 650 surgical fires every year in American hospitals. They occur when careless medical mistakes and ignorance of fire basics occur.

Because all of the elements that cause fires are typically present in operating rooms, and sometimes surgical personnel may not be prepared for putting out fires when they start, patients can suffer critical or even fatal burns.

The entire surgical team, through fire training, is responsible for controlling these components and sparing patients the horrible pain and suffering associated with burn injuries. While surgeons tend to operate the lasers, cauterizing tools or other surgical instruments that produce heat, nurses generally manage fuels that feed fires, such as alcohol, linens, gauze, ointments, and tubing. In addition, anesthesiologists use oxidizers like pure oxygen, oxygen mixtures or nitrous oxide to keep patients sedated.

When all three of these elements mix during a surgery, fires can start either on or in a patient or on various flammable surfaces surrounding their bodies. Surgical fires may minimally impair medical equipment or supplies, but they can cause catastrophic harm to sleeping victims.

In many cases, it is actually is the operated patient who catches on fire. With oxygen flowing through an endotracheal tube or blowing through face masks, a spark from a laser or any surgical tool can ignite anything flammable near the patient: hair, tissue, skin, sheets, drapes, or plastic tubes. In most cases, additionally, the operation will be interrupted which could also put the patient’s life at risk.

Surgical Fire Injuries can be Devastating

Surgical fire injuries are many times devastating. They include first, second or third degree burns to the skin or other areas of the body. Burns can be internal or external, depending on whether or not the surgical site is open. They happen mostly in or around patients’ mouths, airways or heads, and affecting faces, eyes or ears.

Though surgical fires typically do not result in a high number of deaths, the severe pain, and scarring that survivors endure every day following their burn injuries is beyond comprehension.

Who Should File a Surgical File Lawsuit?

Surgical fires are preventable and should never happen.

When we realize that simple operating room precautions or procedural fire drills can be performed to prevent surgical fires and patient injuries, we understand that these types of incidents are inexcusable and worthy of legal action.

Preventing surgical fires in the OR is a question of following known procedures. Only trained preoperative nurses, anesthesiologists, and surgeons who know the procedures should be allowed in the OR. The head surgeon’s duty is to make sure all members of the team are aware of the risks, that they know their role well and they know how to communicate well with the others.

Because medical professionals can avoid tragedies like surgical fires, they reveal blatant negligence of doctors and nurses when they occur. If you or a loved one have experienced a surgical burn, we can help you get the justice you deserve.

Every type of operation, including electrocautery, tracheostomy, and head surgery, has its own set of fire prevention measures, and they are very much the same for every operating room.

How Van Wey Law Can Help

With educated surgical team members and widely known and accepted procedures, no surgical fire should ever catch on and destroy what should be a life-saving operation.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a surgical fire, you are likely to have been the victim of negligence. Kay Van Wey and the team at Van Wey Law is no stranger to complex medical issues and has won multi-million dollar awards fighting powerful opponents in malpractice and negligence cases. We can help you fight for your rights when you or a loved one fall victim to a surgical fire.

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