One danger you may not be aware of in an operating room is fire. Over 600 fires occur during surgery in the United States.
September 22, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/ -- When you think about all the risks you face in an operating room during a surgical procedure, fire probably does not rank high on your list.
They could operate on the wrong side of the body or the wrong limb, they could leave surgical tools in your body, you could develop an infection or they could administer incorrect drugs, but you may not have even given thought to the possibility of a fire in the operating room.
Nevertheless, you should. Surgical fires, while not an everyday occurrence, happen all too frequently. This is not all that surprising, once you consider all of the flammable materials that surround a person on the operating table.
There is oxygen. Pure oxygen is so flammable that in NASA's rockets, when mixed with hydrogen, it does not even need an ignition source. There are other flammable gases present, plus many other combustibles, such as the fabric of the surgical drapes, plastic air tubes, various alcohol skin sanitizers, hair and skin.
Into this mix, you add the cutting tools used in surgery, electrocautery tools that cauterize the skin with heat, lasers and other hot lights and you have a very explosive setting.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, there are approximately 650 surgery fires every year. As horrific as they may be, often leaving the patient with second- and third-degree burns, they are easily preventable.
An Easy Fix
"The fix is incredibly inexpensive and it's just the right thing to do. The big challenge is to keep the potential risk for fire on everyone's radar," said Kenneth Silverstein, M.D., chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Christiana Care Health System on the FDA's website.
What Can a Patient Do?
While a patient is under anesthetic, they have no control over the actions of the surgical staff. When a fire occurs in the OR, it is almost always due to negligence on the part of the team. The FDA is working to raise awareness of the danger fire poses to patients among surgical personnel.
The FDA outlines the steps that need to be followed to prevent them. As Dr. Silverstein noted, they are inexpensive, but require the staff to stay alert to the risk.
Article provided by Raizman Frischman & Matzus, P.C.
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