Crisis in the operating room: Fires, explosions and electrical accidents
Department of Anesthesiology, Medical Center East, Tokyo Women's Medical University, 2-1-10 Nishiogu, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo, 116-8567, Japan.Journal of Artificial Organs (Impact Factor: 1.44). 09/2010; 13(3):129-33. DOI: 10.1007/s10047-010-0513-0
Fires, explosions and electrical accidents in the operating theater are rare events, but are devastating in terms of structural damage to the equipment in theaters and to human lives. While various circumstances lead to these troubles, we can avoid and manage them by learning from the instructive cases accumulated so far. We describe operating room crises such as fires, explosions and electrical breakdowns, and discuss causes and countermeasures.
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ABSTRACT: Operating room (OR) fires remain a significant source of liability for anesthesia providers and injury for patients, despite existing practice guidelines and other improvements in operating room safety. Factors contributing to OR fires are well understood and these occurrences are generally preventable. OR personnel must be familiar with the fire triad which consists of a fuel supply, an oxidizing agent, and an ignition source. Existing evidence shows that OR-related fires can result in significant patient complications and malpractice claims. Steps to reduce fires include taking appropriate safety measures before a patient is brought to the OR, taking proper preventive measures during surgery, and effectively managing fire and patient complications when they occur. Decreasing the incidence of fires should be a team effort involving the entire OR personnel, including surgeons, anesthesia providers, nurses, scrub technologists, and administrators. Communication and coordination among members of the OR team is essential to creating a culture of safety.
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