The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a webinar on Tuesday to help educate operating room personnel in how to prevent surgical fires during surgeries, a rare, but persistent problem. In fact, the FDA Safety Initiative says 550 to 650 surgical fires occur each year, causing severe burns, gross disfigurement, trauma, and even death.
Frank Komorowski of East Naples, Florida was undergoing surgery for a pacemaker at NCH Downtown Naples Hospital when fire broke out and Komorowski suffered second-degree burns to his neck, shoulder, and chest. According to the depositions of the operating room nurses, the alcohol-based antiseptic, DuraPrep, was not dry when they told the doctor he could begin, when caused an electrical cauterizing device to ignite, Naples News reports. A nurse also said the alcohol had pooled around Komorowski’s head, in the areas where he was burned.
Just last week, Collier Circuit Judge Hugh Hayes found the hospital liable, and a jury will determine the amount of damages.
The FDA says that surgical fires are completely preventable, if the surgical team works together to prevent them. The Agency began its surgical fire prevention education push in October.