Patient burns from a hospital visit, and fires in the operating room

When undergoing a procedure in the hospital, the last thing most patients suspect would be sustaining burns from medical equipment or carelessness of the medical staff.

Thankfully, such instances are rare, but they do occur. As the WSJ reports, the oxygen-rich environment of an operating room can increase the risk of flames, from say, a stray spark of an electrocautery device.

Furthermore, medication patches, like nicotine or fentanyl patches, can generate skin-burning heat when patients undergo MRIs.

Scary stuff, and hospitals are just now acknowledging the risk and taking preventive measures.

Patients, however, can take their own precautions: “Before entering an MRI machine, remove nicotine patches or patches containing pain drugs such as fentanyl, which can ignite in the machine. Also check that headphones or video goggles aren’t damaged. Tattoos containing iron oxide can heat up to cause minor burns. Before surgery, ask what fire-prevention strategies are in use.”

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