Trial Magazine Puts a Spotlight on Surgical Fires

May 16, 2018 | Risk Management News

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​Inadequate training is “the common denominator" when it comes to surgical fires, according to an article in the May 2018 issue of Trial Magazine (subscription required). “Preventing fires is easy," the author says, noting that the key is to interrupt the fire triangle. If one removes any of the fire triangle's three elements (fuel, oxidizer, ignition) there will be no fire. And yet, the author says, fires in the operating room (OR) “still happen all too often. " To achieve true fire safety, the authors said, everyone on the surgical team must identify the elements of the fire triangle present during surgery. Different members of the team control different parts of the fire triangle. For example, anesthesia providers likely control the oxidizers, such as oxygen and nitrous oxide, while nurses may control the flammable fuels, such as sponges or alcohol preps, and surgeons may control the ignition source.

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