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The majority of the public has not heard of surgical fires, let alone be prepared to take an active role in preventing them. According to the non-profit health agency, ECRI, "Virtually all operating room fires ignite on or in the patient. These fires typically result in little damage to equipment, cause considerable injury to patients, and are a complete surprise to the staff."
Medical errors are the eighth leading cause of death among Americans, with error-caused deaths in hospitals exceeding those from motor vehicle accidents, breast cancer or AIDS, as reported by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). You can help prevent a surgical fire from happening to you by asking a few basic questions of your doctor and other medical team members.