Shining a Light on Safety: New Guidance from the Joint Commission

A commitment to OR safety requires a proactive approach with new healthcare industry developments and alerts. Hospital and vendor alignment with guidance and standards helps to ensure new products and procedures address the most pressing issues facing medical professionals today. One such situation, highlighted in the recent Quick Safety Issue 69 published by The Joint Commission, is the risk of patient burns during laparoscopic, thoracoscopic, or arthroscopic procedures due to light sources.


Understanding the Risks

Light source-related burns during minimally invasive procedures like laparoscopy, thoracoscopy, cystoscopy, hysteroscopy, and arthroscopy can go unnoticed by the surgical team as they typically do not produce smoke or charring. Surprisingly, more than half of the fires/burns sentinel events reported to The Joint Commission since 2019 were associated with surgical or invasive procedures, and nearly 15% of those incidents were related to light sources.

The issue arises due to the complex illumination systems required for these procedures. The critical components of these systems’ light sources and cables can generate excessive heat and result in patient burns. Heat dissipation may be less effective among different brands of connectors, and detached light cables resting against surgical drapes can cause full-thickness burns to the patient’s skin without generating any smoke or fire.


Essential Safety Measures

The Joint Commission’s Quick Safety Issue 69 suggests several safety actions for organizations that conduct minimally invasive procedures. These include educating all surgeons on the importance of handling the scope safely, implementing system changes to minimize the risk of patient burns, and labeling light sources with warnings about the potential for ignition. We fully support and advocate for these recommendations as part of our mission to establish a new, safer standard of care in operating rooms.


Taking Safety Further

While these measures are essential in making the OR safer for patients and staff, we believe we can do even more to help protect patients. That’s why Jackson Medical developed GloShield – a surgical fire safety cover for fiber-optic light cables. GloShield was born out of real-life observations in operating rooms, where we identified a significant gap between existing safety protocols and actual surgical practice.

GloShield is a reliable, cost-effective solution to protect patients from preventable and catastrophic events. Since GloShield’s launch and use in over 100k surgeries, hospitals nationwide have implemented GloShield for its risk reduction, safety, and peace of mind. It is designed to integrate seamlessly with current surgical practices and workflows while significantly enhancing safety.


Try GloShield in Your OR

We’re committed to developing innovative medical devices that align with the guidelines set by organizations like the Joint Commission and AORN to address the challenges faced by healthcare professionals and enhance patient safety. Talk to a specialist today to try GloShield in your OR and make laparoscopic and arthroscopic surgeries safer for patients and staff.


Latest AORN Surgical Fire Safety Guidelines Hot SheetDownload