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Archive Patient Safety 2009

Fire Risk Assessment: A Score for Patient Safety

We developed a simple tool to measure fire risks in the OR after the unthinkable happened — twice.

Denise Dennison, RN, BSN, CNOR


A surgical fire is something that happens to someone else, right? That's what we thought, too, until the unthinkable happened: 2 major OR fires 8 months apart. The first involved a 51-year-old woman undergoing a carotid endarterectomy. The second involved a 66-year-old man undergoing radiofrequency ablation and a pacemaker insertion. Although the patients and the procedures were vastly different, both cases had several factors in common:

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