February 20, 2020

October 2008: Fires in the OR?

From the Editor
e5651521-0a79-4662-9408-c8f0e9d97393Between the election and the economy, there’s a lot vying for everyone’s attention right now. So we’re keeping it short!

Nevertheless, we thought you would be interested in reading some recent findings about fires in the operating room – fires that are almost 100% preventable.

And this month’s spotlight is on a current NIFA student in the RNFA program. We hope you enjoy reading about him, and we invite you to send us information about yourself. Just email it to me at news@nifa.com.

Julie Lancaster, Editor

Fires in the OR?

87a4dd1e-745c-492f-bb49-2a299c5b8192A fire happening during surgery is a rare occurrence, but not as rare as you might think. A recent MSNBC article reports that some 600 patients per year experience a fire during surgery in the U.S., some receiving serious burns and one or two people dying each year.

“Surgical fires are still a tiny fraction of the 50 million surgeries performed each year,” the article quotes Mark Bruley, vice president of accident and forensic investigations at the ECRI Institute, a patient safety advocacy agency, as saying. “But it shouldn’t take a body count to draw attention to a medical error that is nearly always preventable. We don’t need more information to know that we shouldn’t be setting people on fire.”

JoNel Aleccia, health writer for MSNBC, goes on to write, “Concern over surgical fires declined after the 1970s, when safer anesthetics replaced highly flammable products such as ether. The worry has resumed in recent years with increased use of electrosurgical devices and the replacement of cloth hospital drapes with disposable synthetic fabric products. Although both are flammable, the thinner disposable drapes may burn faster.”

Bruley recommends that surgeons, nurses and aides be trained in basic steps to keep fires from happening, including holding fire drills, and that doctors announce it when they start up a surgical tool. Read the whole article here.

Photo: FreeFoto.com

Student Spotlight

bd6fd4f0-3afd-40df-9840-5cfdf7689b70Name:  Oliver T. Llamas
City & State:  Park Ridge, Illinois
Credentials:  RN, BSN, CNOR.
Current Job:  Specialty Resource – Peds General Surgery and Urology, Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, Park Ridge, IL. Works as circulating and scrub nurse and troubleshoots problems for surgeons and OR staff.
Hobby:  Museum hopping, reading and playing table tennis
Latest Accomplishment: Assisted in three robotic Pyeloplasty cases – putting out the surgeon’s instruments and getting exposure to the process.
Quote:  “It’s kind of intimidating at first, especially with suturing because your hand is shaking, but you have to be more relaxed and composed. It’s important to collaborate and communicate well with your surgeon.” Favorite trick? “Take a good, deep breath, let go, and relax.”

Attention CNORs and CRNFAs

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