Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Blog

Patient Catches Fire During Surgery

Posted by Briggs Bedigian | May 02, 2016 | 0 Comments

The New York Department of Health as just released a report detailing the results of an investigation into a horrific surgical accident. While much of the Department of Health's investigation has been redacted from public view, the basic details are evident: A patient undergoing a surgical procedure at the Langone Medical Center at New York University was injured after catching fire while on the operating table.

Further details were redacted from the report, including the patient's name, the type of surgery that was being performed, the type of medical instrument that caused the fire, and even the extent of the patient's injuries. However, the report does specify that the patient was receiving oxygen through a mask that was connected to a wall outlet: The high concentration of oxygen typically present in surgical rooms exacerbates both the likelihood and severity of surgical fires.

Hospital Not in Compliance with Fire Safety Rules

The Department of Health's report deemed that the hospital where the fire took place – the Langone Medical Center – was out of compliance with standard medical practices for fire safety. The oxygen delivery method that the hospital was using was susceptible to spreading fires, and should not have been used during certain procedures or when certain instruments were being used.

Following the accident, however, the Langone Medical Center did not change its oxygen delivery methods. It was not until the Department of Health's inspection that changes were finally implemented.

Doctors Also at Fault

In addition to the hospital's oxygen delivery methods being at issue, the doctor and the anesthesiologist also contributed to the accident, according to the report. During the procedure, there was no communication between the two regarding which tools the doctor would use, which led to the anesthesiologist using a gas that created a dangerous risk of a fire.

Surgical Fires Are Not Unheard Of

Unfortunately, and as strange as this situation might sound, this is not the only case of a surgical fire that has ever happened. In fact, fires in operating rooms happen up to 650 times in the U.S. every year, causing serious injuries to patients and other victims.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Baltimore and Washington D.C.

Surgical fires are a classic example of the kinds of mistakes that are routinely made in operating rooms and hospitals that can only be the result of someone's negligence or a doctor's malpractice. If you or someone you love has been hurt because of a surgical fire in the Baltimore area, contact the law offices of Gilman & Bedigian either online or at (800) 529-6162 for legal representation.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm's litigation practice.  Briggs' legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 

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