Our very own, Dr. Spencer Kozinn, is Live at 5 on KQ2 during Patient Safety Awareness Week 2021 to highlight patient safety, fire safety, and GloShield.
Transcript of Q&A
Jodie: Patient safety and surgical fire safety may seem like a topic you don’t need to know about, but think again. Joining us tonight is Dr. Spencer Kozinn, a surgeon himself and a patient safety advocate. Welcome Doctor. Thanks for being here!
Dr. Kozinn: Thanks so much for having me, Jodie.
Jodie: Tell us why is Patient Safety Awareness Week important?
Dr. Kozinn: As physicians we take an oath to first do no harm so patient safety is critical to this concept. Patients place the ultimate trust in us when they allow us to perform surgery on them or care for them in the hospital. It is our responsibility to make sure that they are not injured by any preventable cause. Patient safety awareness week highlights the steps we can take to protect our patients in a proactive manner.
Jodie: That makes sense. Why is it important to discuss fire safety in medical settings? It’s not something we usually think about.
Dr. Kozinn: Surgical fires are a potentially devastating problem. The operating room is rich in oxygen, an important part of the “fire triangle” along with heat and fuel. This can allow a small fire to rapidly progress to an uncontrolled conflagration. This puts not only the patient, but all of the staff in the room at risk for severe injury or even death. Heat and ignition sources that are commonly used in the operating room include cautery devices, lasers, and fiber optic light cables. In fact, the tip of a fiber optic light cable used in minimally invasive procedures can be as hot as 550 degrees Fahrenheit and can ignite a drape in as little as 6 seconds. In some cases, these are used around the head and neck directly adjacent to the anesthesia tube that carries all of their gases, including large amounts of oxygen.
Jodie: That’s crazy! Something again we don’t think about. These aren’t injuries we normally hear about. How common are they?
Dr. Kozinn: Approximately 4-600 OR fires are reported annually, although the true number is likely significantly higher due to underreporting and lack of data for near misses. Although this number seems relatively small, given how significant a problem they can cause, any fire is unacceptable and what we would consider a “never event.” Even near misses should be actively avoided as prevention is the best strategy to combating OR fires.
Jodie: What are some tools at our disposal to prevent these fires?
Dr. Kozinn: We have a number of tools at our disposal to prevent fires. The first and foremost is thorough training of the staff to keep potential heat sources isolated from fuel, such as drapes and patient skin. Using the same light cable example, all light sources should be turned off when cables are not attached to a scope to help mitigate the fire risk. We all know that humans are fallible, however, and for this reason a number of products have been developed to prevent fires. GloShield is one such product. It is a safety cover that goes on the end of fiber optic light cables. Devices such as this are critical to creating a safe and efficient OR environment where “never events” truly never happen.
Jodie: Dr. Spencer Kozinn, thank you for joining us tonight.