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NY Woman Received Third-Degree Burns After Her Abdomen Caught Fire During a C-section


Posted on Nov 11, 2012

42-year-old, Kira Reed, scheduled a cesarean-section for March 12, 2010 to deliver her baby. Crouse, a medical professional, applied DuraPrep, an antiseptic, to the area where the physician could create an incision. For the 20 years that Crouse has used DuraPrep, the antiseptic has never resulted in a fire. 

Although Reed felt the effects from the local anesthesia while she was on the operating table, she knew something was wrong. Reed smelled something burning, but doctors in the operating room told Reed not to worry.

Reed’s mother was also in the operating room in order to provide emotional support.  

The obstetrician who performed Reed’s C-section, Dr. Stephen Brown, used an “electrical cautery tool on Reed’s incision,” which is a tool commonly used during surgery and for C-sections. Brown saw that a small flame of fire developed on the left side of Reed’s body while he used the tool. Dr. Brown then “patted out the flame with his hand.”

Brown proceeded with the C-section and successfully delivered a healthy baby girl. Following the C-section, however, Reed suffered from third-degree burns on her left side and the burns covered 7 inches in length and 5 inches in width on her body. Because of the burns, Reed consulted with a plastic surgeon who later described Reed’s burns “as similar to those he’d seen on napalm victims.”

According to an expert, “A spark from the tool could have ignited fumes from the antiseptic.” Crouse admits to being at fault but Crouse does not admit to negligence.

A month before Reed’s C-section, the company that manufactures DuraPrep “Issued a new warning to hospitals about the solution’s flammability and gave instructions on how to prevent surgical fires.”

Before the incident, four medical professionals claimed that they did not receive any training on preventing surgical fires associated with DuraPrep.

Reed is now suing Brown and Crouse for medical malpractice. Reed asserts that they failed to follow DuraPrep’s recommended procedures.

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