A small number of patients at an Oregon hospital woke up to more than run-of-the-mill post-surgery scars -- their skin was burned.
Thanks to unfiltered halogen operating room lights, about 10 Silverton Hospital patients suffered from skin irritations ranging from redness to blistering to "full thickness" burns, according to Silverton Health in Silverton, Oregon. The hospital noticed the problem during a quality review process and said it has since fixed the problem.
“For all of us working in health care, we're in it to help people get better, so it's difficult for us when safety of patients are compromised in any way," Dr. Joseph Huang, chief medical officer, said in a statement. "It's our responsibility to our patients and the communities that we serve that we respond in a transparent and accountable way."
It may seem shocking, but this isn't the first time patients have been burned in the O.R. In 1989, a plastic surgeon published case study of injuries during the five months he used a certain surgical light fixture. He noticed that a 68-year-old woman who had an "uneventful" procedure unwrapped her bandages two weeks later to find a 9 by 7 centimeter purplish discoloration that progressed to scarring and skin loss. Another woman, this time 52 years old, also discovered an unexplained scar after her procedure and needed follow-up surgery to correct it.