Kim Grice’s mother, Ann, knew something was wrong when emergency crews rushed past her in the hospital lobby and straight back to her daughter’s operating room. Kim had been in OR for the removal of several growths from her head. Ann would later learn that a flash fire had burned her daughter on the face and neck. Emergency crews rushed her by helicopter to the University of South Alabama Burn Unit.
“I’m in shock,” Ann told reporters. “This is not what happens with a routine outpatient surgery.”
Unfortunately, Kim’s terrifying surprise is not an isolated incident. According to experts, approximately 650 fires occur in operating rooms each year around the country. While some patients receive scars and emotional damage, others die from burns and smoke inhalation.
Dr. David Cowles points out that everything required for a flare up exists in the operating room.
“There’s a basic simple chemistry and physics principle that when three elements are combined then a fire occurs,” Cowles said. With the use of electro-cautery devices and lasers, a “trifecta” of elements is present – oxygen, alcohol prep and an ignition source.
The FDA has launched a new initiative to address the situation, and we hope it is effective. Operations are already intimidating. Patients should not have to add a fear of flash fires to their list of anxieties.
Metier Law Firm – Denver injury attorneys