My neighbor was burned when she being operated on in a hospital. How did that happen? Can these type of fires be prevented?
Approximately 600 – 650 people are injured each year in operating room fires. Consequences of a surgical fire can be deadly or leave people with horrible pain and disfiguring scars. Fires can occur in any setting where invasive surgical procedures are performed. Experts indicate that the basic principle to remember is that people start most fires, and people can prevent them.
This has been a problem for many years. This article from a 1994 edition of Today’s OR Nurse tells us that (1) Every operating room has the elements necessary to start a fire: oxidants (O2, N2O), ignition sources, and fuel; (2) A team approach, including nursing, anesthesia and surgery members, should be used in assessing fire safety in the operating room; (3) Staff knowledge of fire safety can be assessed by written tests. An appropriate fire safety program can be developed based on the test results; (4) Fire evacuation drills and hands-on use of fire extinguishers should be included in any OR fire safety program. Now, almost 20 years later, fires continue to occur.