Challenges in Preventing Electrical, Thermal, and Radiation Injuries

Chapter

Abstract

Energy—its use in various forms during surgery has tremendously advanced our practice of surgery since the 1920s with the introduction of the first electrosurgical units by William Bovie, MD. Each type of energy—electricity, heat, and radiation (including intense MRI magnetic fields)—presents variable risks of injury to patients if the risks are not recognized and care not taken to prevent harm. Intraoperative injuries that are suspected of being caused by a medical device/implement and its related energy may not be related to a technology. In many cases, the injury may be an abnormal or idiosyncratic physiologic response to otherwise normal conditions of device use and performance. Alternatively, the injury may be due to pressure necrosis, tissue chemical sensitivity, an adverse drug reaction, or a disease process that happens to develop in the area where a device was applied. Such alternative etiologies, beyond those from energy emitting technologies, are briefly discussed. This chapter addresses the etiology of intraoperative skin and tissue injuries from medical technologies that are the source of electrical, thermal, and radiation energy. A format for investigating such injuries is presented along with guidance on their prevention. The hazards of surgical fire on the patient are also addressed.

Keywords

Burns Electrosurgery Electrical Thermal Radiation Injury Investigation Medical devices Patient safety Human factors 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ECRI InstitutePlymouth MeetingUSA

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