Unexpected Fire Hazards Create Unexpected Headlines.

Big Movers Super Car toy trucks that were sold exclusively at Kohls as part of a toy & t-shirt set are being recalled because they could unexpectedly catch fire. For additional information, please contact Happy Shirts toll-free at (855) 354-2779 between noon and 8 p.m. PT (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. HT) Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.happyshirts.com. That’s all I’ve got on that story, but…

In other fire hazard news, here’s something I bet you never thought could unexpectedly catch fire…

A pregnant woman’s abdomen catches fire during C-section

As Kira Reed was lying on the operating table at Crouse Hospital on March 12, 2010, she suddenly smelled burning but was told there was nothing to worry about. Then, she saw smoke and told the obstetrician, Dr. Stephen Brown. At that point, he, according to Kira said, “She’s right.” Then, she said he patted out the flame with his hand. The doctor continued on with the operation and Kira Reed gave birth to a healthy baby daughter, but in addition to normal recovery, she had to recover from a painful 3rd degree burn on her side which was 7 inches long and 5 inches wide.

See here’s what happened. They applied some DuraPrep antiseptic skin preparation onto her abdomen for her surgery. They didn’t let it dry. A surgical instrument made a spark, and she caught on fire.

Kira Reed is suing Brown and Crouse Hospital for medical malpractice, claiming the doctor and nurses failed to follow the manufacturer’s recommended procedures for using an alcohol-based antiseptic that was applied to her skin in preparation for surgery. Four of the nurses and the anesthesiologist testified in depositions on the matter that before Kira’s belly caught fire, they hadn’t been trained in how to prevent surgical fires. One nurse said she didn’t even know it was a possibility.

But alas, it is a possibility, just like the manufacturer warned. It is a possibility, and it happened. During a scheduled, non-emergency c-section, a woman caught on fire.

Not only is it a possibility though. And not only did it happen, between 400 and 600 surgical fires happen on patients each year. That’s not too bad, considering that there are around 50 million surgeries annually. But, still, 400 and 600 people catch fire during surgery a year? Who would have thought? That’s just unfathomable to me. Mark Bruley, who is an expert in surgical fires, said that he’s only seen about a dozen fires in the last couple of decades from c-sections. He added that they have always been during rushed emergency c-sections. Kira’s c-section was scheduled though, so they had every opportunity to let the solution dry properly.

I’ve got my eye out on the news, rest assured, I’ll let you know if they issue a recall on scheduled c-sections.

In the meantime, let’s remember, no human is infallible. OB’s are often seen pointing out possible negative outcomes with midwife assisted births, but it’s important to remember that OB’s are also involved in bizarre, rare circumstances.  As you choose your birthing location, understand that there are risks everywhere, and if it helps settle any reservations, The Canadian Medical Association Journal declared in their 2009 September issue that planned midwife assisted home births have impressively better outcomes than hospital births. In fact, planned midwife assisted births resulted in significantly less c-sections, episiotomies, artificial rupturing of fetal membranes, use of oxytocin, electronic fetal monitoring and deaths.

So, go ahead, if your pregnancy is normal, choose a midwife.




  1. I am the founder of SurgicalFire.Org, and yes fire is that last word you want to hear in any hospital OR, or outpatient surgery center.
    My mother was having a Trach placed in her neck when a fire erupted, and destroyed what was left of my mother’s life, surgery is scary enough without a surgical fire. However after my mother suffered for two years being hospitalized and passed away when I was 7 months pregnant with my first child I ended up having a c-section, and also with my second child a c-section, and both went fine, but I had a list of questions and that is what every consumer needs to do is participate in your health care ask the tough uncomfortable questions such as : Has your employer provided your surgical team with surgical fire prevention? If so when or how often during the year? Is a flammable skin prep being used? If so do you know the drying time needed for vapors to dissipate?
    At them minimum they will not forget the patient who asked ,and a discussion might follow to make sure everything is being done as trained.

    Please find us on FB the only prevention is education help us fuel awareness ! Please “Like” our FB page and share .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top