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Fires in the OR: about 4% of surgical anesthesia claims

There has been an increase in the percentage of surgical anesthesia claims related to cautery fires (fires in the operating room ignited by the use of electrocautery equipment) from about 1 percent in the early ’90s to about 4 percent in the period 2000-2008.  Most of these fires (85 percent) took place during procedures during which the patient was sedated for head and neck surgery and supplemental oxygen was in use.  The author provides specific recommendations on how to avoid this type of fire.  This study was based on review of the American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Closed Claims database.

Source: Menta, S.P.  Cautery fires in the operating room.  American Society of Anesthesiologists Newsletter;76(2):16-18, Feb. 2012.  Click here for full text: http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/1da72863#/1da72863/18  Posted by AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

One Response

  1. Surgical fires are devastating to staff, patient, and family members. If the staff in the operating room are not educated in surgical fires they should not be in the OR.
    In addition the leadership at all facilities need to take surgical fires seriously,and not view as a “Rare” event. One surgical fire is one too many.
    I have spent the past 7 years trying to educate others on surgical fire awareness and damage they leave behind through SurgicalFire.Org please “like” SurgicalFire.Org on Facebook and help spread awareness.

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