Routine Surgery Turns into Serious Burn Injuries for Patient

By Peter DePaolis

What would you do if you went in for routine surgery and when you awoke, you had severe burn injuries to your face and neck? It happened to a Florida woman and now her family wants answers as to how a fire broke out in the operating room.

As initially reported at, the 29-year-old woman was supposed to have some cysts removed from her head, which was causing headaches. It was a routine procedure that went horribly wrong when a fire broke out in the operating room. She is now in the University of South Alabama Burn Unit recovering from burns to her neck and face.

At this point, doctors and hospital staff are not saying what caused the fire. However, one medical expert is not so surprised at the occurrence of surgical fires. With all the electricity, oxygen, lasers, and alcohol present in an operating room, there are all the necessary ingredients for a fire, said one doctor. In fact, there are over 650 operating room fires each year in the United States.

So prevalent are surgical fires, that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a new initiative to prepare hospital staff in dealing with fires in the operating room. Some victims of surgical fires suffer physical and emotional scarring, while others die from burns and smoke inhalation. Call our office today to learn more.

Koonz, McKenney, Johnson & DePaolis L.L.P.

Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia Injury Attorneys

Approved by attorney Paulette Chapman

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.