Hospital surgical fires are a real danger, and a situation that no one wants to find themselves in. However, despite being rare, they still happen, and they can be devastating when they do. For medical malpractice attorneys, errors in the operating room, including fires, are a serious issue. Not only can they be physically and emotionally traumatic for patients, but they can also result in permanent disfigurement, scarring or even death. In this article, we’ll discuss ways to prevent surgical fires from happening, what causes them, and how to navigate the legal waters in the unlikely event that one occurs.
Causes of Hospital Surgical Fires
Hospital surgical fires happen when three components, sometimes referred to as the “fire triangle,” come together: a source of heat, such as a laser, electrosurgical instrument, or even a light source; an oxidizer, such as high concentrations of oxygen or nitrous oxide; and a fuel, such as gauze, alcohol-based skin preparations, or leaking gases. Without one of these components, fires cannot occur.
Preventing Surgical Fires
Thankfully, there are steps hospitals can take to prevent surgical fires. These include:
- Conducting a surgical fire risk assessment before any procedure that involves heat or electricity.
- Limiting the use of oxygen near the patient’s face area.
- Ensuring that all medical equipment and drugs are stored properly and labelled correctly.
- Maintaining clear communication between surgical team members to prevent missteps.
- Enforcing the rules on smoking and other fire hazards in the surgical room.
Legal Implications of Surgical Fires
If a hospital surgical fire does occur, there can be serious legal implications, especially if the injuries are severe. Medical malpractice attorneys can help navigate the legal system and determine who’s at fault. In some cases, the cause of the fire is equipment malfunction, and the hospital may be held liable. In other cases, it may be the fault of one of the medical professionals in the room. No matter the cause, it’s important to seek legal advice if you or a loved one has suffered damages due to a surgical fire.
Medical Malpractice Attorney in Kentucky and Indiana
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. A hospital surgical fire that can cause permanent damage, scarring, or death. However, by taking preventative measures, hospitals can mitigate the risk of such an occurrence. Understanding the causes of surgical fires, and taking action to prevent them before they start, is crucial. If, in the unlikely event that a surgical fire does occur, a medical malpractice attorney can help you navigate the legal implications and work towards fair compensation. The goal for everyone in the medical field is to keep patients safe, healthy and happy, and taking the steps to prevent surgical fires is a key part of that mission.