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October 11, 1976

Electrosurgical Devices

Author Affiliations

National Fire Protection Association Boston

JAMA. 1976;236(15):1690. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270160014005

To the Editor.—  May I offer some comment to clarify the answer to a question on the safety of electrosurgical apparatus in a recent issue of The Journal?1The newer solid-state devices are smaller, technologically modern, usually less powerful, but not necessarily safer than the older spark-gap machine. They may be more effective for some purposes but are less so for others. There are hazards associated with the use of such intentionally destructive high-power devices, but these hazards and complications are largely attributable to lack of knowledge or inadequate training of medical personnel operating them and not to faults of the apparatus.The Rogers subcommittee report (94-853) of 858 deaths due to devices should be quoted with great caution. Before using it to imply that a particular device is potentially lethal, one should check that the report has any reference to such device.The Rogers report quotes 751 fatalities,