More than 250,000 people in the US are killed by medical mistakes each year. Countless others suffer injuries, some of which may be life-altering. Surgical fires, which occur around patients who are undergoing surgical procedures, are a type of medical mistake that is likely to cause catastrophic injuries. According to the ECRI Institute (formerly the Emergency Care Research Institute), there are an estimated 500 to 600 surgical fires each year.
Surgical fires can occur when a procedure utilizes flammable materials, ignition sources and oxidizers. Flammable materials may include surgical drapes, alcohol-based skin preparation agents and even the patient. Ignition sources can include lasers, electrosurgical units and fiberoptic light sources. Oxidizers may include oxygen or nitrous oxide.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) recommends hospitals utilize the following steps to prevent surgical fires. These steps include but are not limited to:
Surgical fires can cause second or third-degree burns, including to the esophagus. In some cases, surgical fires are fatal. Medical mistakes that lead to surgical fires are generally preventable. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible for patients or their family members to recover compensation by filing medical malpractice lawsuits.
You can speak to a Washington DC medical malpractice lawyer at Regan Zambri Long PLLC to learn more about options for compensation after a medical mistake.Tagged HospitalSafety, WashingtonDC