C-section fire leads woman to file medical malpractice lawsuit

Posted on behalf of The Bell Law Firm, PLLC on Apr 05, 2012 in Medical Malpractice

Having a baby is a happy and exciting time. A scheduled cesarean-section, while not without its risks, is typically a fairly routine procedure. Seasoned obstetricians perform C-sections nearly every day without incident and deliver healthy babies. For one woman, however, her C-section operation not only resulted in a bouncing baby girl, but also a severe third degree burn and a resulting medical malpractice lawsuit .

While on the operating table, the woman noticed an acrid burning smell. She voiced her concerns to the doctor and operating staff who at first dismissed her claim. When the woman's mother also saw smoke, the obstetrician reported he saw flames coming from the woman's left side which he quickly smothered out.

While luckily the woman's baby was not injured by the fire, she suffered a large third-degree burn. In the medical malpractice lawsuit she's filed against the medical facility where the operation took place, the woman contends that medical staff failed to properly apply the antiseptic used to prep her for surgery.

While the hospital apologized for the incident, nursing staff admitted they had not been properly trained on how to use the antiseptic, nor where they aware of any potential fire hazard. Prior to the procedure, some of the alcohol-based solution was spilled on the patient's gown. A flame from the soldering tool used during the procedure likely created a spark that ignited the gown.

While the obstetrician contends he was unaware that any of the solution had spilled, the anesthesiologist testified she noticed a wet spot on the woman's gown.

Despite undergoing plastic surgery, the woman has a scar seven inches long by five inches wide. She is also still in constant pain and reports it feels as though the wound may break open at any time. The lawsuit is still pending.

Source: The Post-Standard, "Woman's abdomen catches fire during C-section, as surgical tool ignites antiseptic," John O'Brien, Apr. 1, 2012

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