Thursday, February 21, 2013

Alcohol Hand Rub Fire?



There is a very sad report about a fire at an Oregon hospital (OHSU's Doernbecher Children's Hospital) possibly linked to static electricity and alcohol-based hand rub. It appears that an 11 year old girl might have been inducing sparks with her hospital blankets when a fire started on her shirt, causing third degree burns. This is a very infrequent event, but fear of possible fires has led to draconian fire regulations that probably end up harming patients more than the very rare fire.  For example, in a 2003 study by Boyce, none of 798 facilities, covering 1430 hospital-years of observation, reported a dispsenser-related fire. When it's an 11 year old girl that's harmed, there's potential for overreaction. However, I hope this doesn't lead to more limitations in hand rub placement and more hospital-acquired infections and I hope she gets better very soon!

Sources: Huffington Post 2/20/2013 and The Oregonian 2/18/2013

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