A Florida man recently filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against NCH Downtown Naples Hospital after he was seriously injured by a surgical fire while undergoing pacemaker surgery. The man had his pacemaker surgically implanted on March 19, 2008. When he woke up after the surgery, he discovered second-degree burns all over his chest, neck and one shoulder. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), around 650 people are injured each year in surgical fires, a relatively unknown but potentially deadly and disfiguring risk in the surgical wards of hospitals.
The vast majority of surgical units in hospitals and outpatient clinics feature redundant safeguards against surgical fires. However, the combination of oxygen-rich atmospheres, surgical lasers and other sources of extreme heat and highly combustible prepping agents like alcohol, gauze and other flammable materials can create a serious fire risk.
A surgical flash fire that burned the face of a 29-year-old Florida woman last winter brought even more attention to the issue. This surgical fire victim, a mother of three, was undergoing a procedure to remove cysts from her head at an outpatient clinic in Crestview when her face and neck caught fire and were badly burned. She was rushed to the North Okaloosa Medical Center for treatment, where doctors determined that she should be flown to the University of South Alabama in Mobile, AL, for more specialized care.
Last October, the FDA took action to prevent surgical fires. The agency launched an initiative to prevent surgical fires by increasing awareness about the problem and promoting protocols that reduce the risk of fires in operating rooms.
Doctors perform around 65 million surgical procedures in this country every year, and surgical fires occur in a very tiny minority of cases. Surgical teams go to great lengths to reduce the risk of fires, but a moment’s inattention or failure to observe proper procedures is all it takes for a flash fire to occur and badly injure a patient. A surgical fire can result in excruciatingly painful burns and disfiguring scars that require multiple surgeries, months of treatment and tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to treat.
If you or someone in your immediate family is a victim of medical malpractice and you would like to speak with an Orlando medical malpractice lawyer with a long history of success in these cases, call 888-425-2004 today. James O. Cunningham began his law practice in 1977 and has nearly four decades of experience helping injured people. If you want to speak with an Orlando personal injury attorney who gives each client and case the individual attention they deserve, call today to schedule a free consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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