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A 43-year-old woman received an undisclosed settlement from a New York hospital three or four months ago. However, a jury recently ruled that a doctor was not negligent when the woman's abdomen caught on fire during a cesarean section two years ago.

The incident occurred in March 2010. An alcohol-based antiseptic was applied to the woman's skin prior to a C-section. The fire started after the doctor cut into the woman. She suffered a third-degree burn. Thankfully, her baby was not harmed.

The woman filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the hospital where the incident occurred and the doctor who performed the surgery. She believes the doctor and nurses were negligent and did not follow proper procedures to prevent a surgical fire.

Just a month before the incident, 3M Company, the makers of the antiseptic solution, warned medical professionals of the fire dangers associated with the product and ways to prevent surgical fires.

Prior to the start of the trial, hospital staff members said they were not trained on how to prevent surgical fires. One nurse said she was not aware that the alcohol-based antiseptic caused fires.

People in New York and beyond expect that medical professionals will do all that they can to prevent patient harm. Sadly, errors made in the operating room can leave people with major complications.

New York residents who are harmed as a result of a medical professional's negligence can pursue legal action, as the woman in this story did. A lawsuit serves as a reminder to health care professionals that negligence will not be tolerated.

Source: syracuse.com, "Jury sides with doctor in lawsuit by woman set on fire during C-section," John O'Brien, Oct. 26, 2012

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