Arizona residents might be interested in learning more about how surgical fires have injured many patients across the country. Researchers estimate that approximately 650 of these surgical fires occur at U.S. hospitals on an annual basis. Studies indicate that there might be up to four times as many situations that could be classified as incidents that were near misses, such as smoldering being quickly extinguished. In many cases, the circumstances resulting in a medical burn may be preventable.
According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, a study of over 140 medical burn victims revealed that more than 30 percent of the incidents were attributed to electrical tools for cauterizing, and over 50 percent were caused by devices designed to warm up patients. The oxygen-laden atmosphere and electrosurgical devices found in the operating room can make for a volatile combustion or compromising circumstances that can injure patients.
Using these tools and lasers to vaporize, cauterize and cut tissue has increased the rate of medical fires over the past two decades. Many of the injuries are attributable to medical staff not following the proper procedures or protocols for the hazardous equipment being used. The negligent use of high-heat devices, enriched oxygen and fuel sources like sponges, alcohol solutions and body hair have created costly safety hazards for many patients undergoing invasive surgical procedures. Industry leaders claim that higher standards and improve teamwork among the staff may help reduce the risk of these burn injuries from occurring in hospitals.
Patients who have been injured during a surgical procedure might benefit from consulting legal counsel. Lawyers might be prepared to investigate the injuries and help determine if the doctor, medical staff or health care facility can be held liable for the ensuing injuries in a medical malpractice lawsuit. The injured victims may be entitled to receive damages for necessary medical expenses and the loss of income resulting from these surgical mistakes.