When you enter a hospital for a surgery, your greatest concern is likely whether the doctor will be able to adequately perform the operation with as little risk as possible. The typical patient is concerned about the performance of the operation and his or her recovery afterwards. The possibility of an operating room fire is far beyond the concerns of many patients entering a hospital. However, national statistics show that patients may now need to be concerned about the outbreak of fires in a hospital room which can result in significant burn injuries.
If you have been the victim of an operation gone wrong due to a hospital room fire, then you may be entitled to compensation. Patients have the right to receive safe treatment during their stay in Illinois’ hospitals. As part of our ongoing service to Illinois’ patients, our attorneys have compiled statistics revealing the numerous hospital room fires that occur throughout the U.S. every year.
National Statistics for Operating Room Fires
The American College of Surgeons puts forth ongoing research projects to continuously address the quality of hospital care throughout the U.S. As part of this effort, the Committee on Perioperative Care has conducted a research study to track the number of fires occurring in U.S. hospital rooms every year. The medical professionals involved in this study were Yale D. Podnos and Russell A. Williams, Md, FACS. Patient safety should always remain a number one concern of hospitals. When hospitals fail to maintain a safe atmosphere or properly train staff members, fires can occur and cause serious injury to patients.
The research study indicated that over 27 million surgical operations occur in the U.S. every year. In addition, the study put forth the following staggering statistics:
- 2,260 hospital fires are reported in the U.S. every year
- At least one person dies from a hospital fire every year
- Over 130 injuries result from hospital fires
- Between 20 and 30 fires occur in the actual operating room
The number of fires occurring in an operating room have decreased over the years. The widespread use of flammable anesthetic has helped in decreasing the number of fires occurring in operating rooms. If there is a fire outbreak in an operating room, then a hospital may have breached its duty of care in failing to use flammable anesthetic. Illinois hospital fire lawyers make it their job to assess the legal standard of care owed by a hospital, and how the hospital failed to meet this standard of care in these types of cases.
Causes of Hospital Fires
The research study further articulated the main causes of hospital room fires. For any fire to occur in a hospital room, the following factors must be present:
- An oxygen source
- A fuel source
- A mechanism that ignites the fire
In an operating room, all three of these factors are present. Due to the many sources of oxygen available through nebulizers, oxygen cylinders and nasal cannulae, surgeons must realize the risks that are also presented by these oxygen sources. Fuel sources are also ever-present in operating rooms, and these include paper, skin agents, tubes, plastic masks, breathing apparatuses, cloth, drapes and more. Many mechanisms are also available to ignite a fire, and these include hydrogen and methane.
Surgeons must realize that meticulous care must be taken to prevent the outbreak of fires in the operation room. Surgeons and assistants have a professional duty to confer with one another to create a safe space for patients in the operating room. A hospital should also have safety guidelines that surgeons and staff members use to create a safe operating room, such as:
- Using fire-retardant drapes
- Avoid placement of drapes in a way that allows additional accumulation of oxygen
- Keeping an electrocautery tip secure when a surgeon is not using it
Attorneys Who Will Prosecute Hospital Fire Cases For Burn Victims
The medical malpractice attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers understand the specific risks that patients face in the operating room. A simple mistake, such as a failure to use flame-retardant drapes, can have dire consequences for a patient. Someone must ultimately be held accountable for negligence in operating room fire cases, and our attorneys are here to hold these individuals accountable. Our attorneys have experience in handling fire in hospital cases and are here to support you in your time of need.