C-Sections: Are You at Risk of Catching on Fire?

Although it may sound far fetched, some women who have undergone a c-section have actually caught on fire as a result of this procedure. There are always risks with any type of surgery, but this particular risk is not one that is generally discussed in advance. It is always a good idea to know exactly what risks a surgical procedure poses, though, so it is important to consider all aspects of a c-section. In many cases, a c-section is the only viable method for safely delivering a baby. If you are faced with this decision, there is probably not much you can do differently, but it’s still wise to be aware of the risks.

How do People Catch on Fire?

DuraPrep, which is manufactured by 3M, is a commonly used antiseptic for preparing an area for surgery – especially c-sections. If proper precautions are not taken, this flammable product can actually set people on fire during surgery. Because DuraPrep is used for most c-sections, women are particularly vulnerable to this issue. The 3M Company provides explicit instructions to every medical facility that is using DuraPrep which instructs them on how to avoid a potential fire. Essentially, the alcohol-based product must be allowed to dry completely after it has been put on the patient’s skin before the medical staff can move forward with the use of electrical tools.

In most cases, the doctors and medical staff make every effort to take the necessary precautions, but our Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer notes that on occasion, a poorly-trained staff member or distracted health care professional may create an avoidable error that has permanent consequences.  In one such recent case that happened during a c-section in the U.S., it was determined that the doctor did not allow enough time for the DuraPrep to dry. Even though the rest of the delivery went smoothly and the baby was not harmed, the mother suffered from a large burn that required plastic surgery to correct.

Will this Happen to Me?

There are no hard statistics at this point that can illustrate how likely you are to catch on fire during an operation, and that fact alone proves that this issue is very rare. If it does happen, however, you need to make sure that you document everything you can remember about the events that led up to the fire. It is also important to make a notation about exactly how the doctor or other medical staff handled the fire. Because both 3M and the FDA have made a concentrated effort to teach doctors about the potential danger of DuraPrep, you may have a valid medical malpractice case on your hands if you catch on fire during a surgery.

Filing a Malpractice Lawsuit

If you have concerns about a potential lawsuit, you should consult directly with an attorney who specializes in medical malpractice to help you determine whether or not you have a viable case. After all, these types of experienced lawyers have a firm understanding of how judges and juries respond to most cases, and they can help you determine whether or not you have a good chance of winning your lawsuit. They can also help ensure that you gather the correct evidence to give you a good chance of winning. A DuraPrep lawsuit may be more straight forward than other medical malpractice cases, but that does not guarantee a ruling in your favor. You will still need to present evidence that proves that your fire injury was caused by the negligent actions of your doctor during your surgery.

Before you find yourself in the middle of a c-section with the potential for a medical malpractice lawsuit, you might want to ask your doctor if he or she uses DuraPrep. If the answer is yes, it is a good idea to ask them about their familiarity with the product as well as the specific steps he or she takes to ensure that patients will not catch on fire.

Karla M. Somers is a legal researcher and writer and contributing author for the law offices of Bottar Leone, a Syracuse medical malpractice lawyer team which specializes in personal injury law. Other areas of expertise include birth injuries, brain and spinal cord injuries, construction accidents, product liability and exposure to toxic chemicals.

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