Some medical malpractice stories are probably familiar to New Jersey readers. After all, we have all heard about a doctor accidentally leaving a surgical sponge inside of an incision. But one recent medical malpractice story is so unusual we doubt we will hear another one like it for quite some time.
The story concerns a woman who was undergoing a cesarean section on March 12, 2010. Everything was going smoothly until she smelled smoke. She told the surgeon she smelled something burning and he said "Oh, there's nothing to worry about. There's been a little fire."
A fire in the room? No, on the woman's abdomen. Apparently, the doctor had used an alcohol-based antiseptic on the woman's torso and it was ignited by a tool he was using. The woman suffered a seven-inch by five-inch burn, which was later described by an expert as similar to those found on napalm victims.
Naturally, the woman is now suing for medical malpractice because no matter what the procedure, a patient has a right to expect that he or she will not be set on fire. She claims the doctor and nurse were negligent because they did not follow the manufacturer's instructions as to when it was okay to use the alcohol-based antiseptic; if they had, she alleges, this would not have happened.
Luckily for this woman, her daughter was born healthy and she was able to recover from her burn injuries. Still, that does not erase the harm done to her nor take away the responsibility for this unusual and harmful incident.
Source: The Syracuse Post-Standard, "Woman's abdomen catches fire during C-section, as surgical tool ignites antiseptic," John O'Brien, April 1, 2012
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