The Patient is on Fire! A Surgical Fires Primer

| 14/11/2008
Instalaciones Protección contra incendios Documentación Documentos The Patient is on Fire! A Surgical Fires Primer

Guidance, jan 1992;21(1):19-34

Virtually all operating room fires ignite on or in the patient, and about 10 surgical patient fires a year come to ECRI's attention through various medical and legal communications. These fires typically result in little damage to equipment, cause considerable injury to patients, and are a complete surprise to the staff. Some other potentially disastrous fires singe linen, hair, or instruments, but are quickly patted out and soon forgotten.

The basic elements of a fire are always present during surgery. A misstep in procedure or a momentary lapse of caution can quickly result in a catastrophe. Slow reaction or the use of improper fire-fighting techniques and tools can lead to damage, destruction, or death. Given the tremendous potential for human and economic disaster resulting from surgical patient fires, it is surprising that perioperative fire prevention receives so little attention.
Surgical fires are preventable, and their impact can be lessened through an understanding of fire and how to fight it. The following article identifies the basic elements of fire and discusses how to prevent surgical fires from starting. The surgical fire case summaries at the end of this article describe steps for putting fires out and for preventing fires from starting by using proper procedures and techniques. ECRI has also published Emergency Procedures, "Fighting Fires on the Surgical Patient" and "Extinguishing Airway Fires."

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