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To the Editor.
—We wish to report the occurrence of fire during surgery at which time the patient was under local anesthesia and oxygen was circulating under the drapes. A tube was taped to the patient's cheek under the cloth eye drape with flow of oxygen at 6 liters/min. Excision of a basal cell carcinoma of the lower lid was being performed. While a disposable cautery was being used, the drape caught fire; this spread so rapidly that the patient's eyebrows and forehead were burned before the drapes could be removed.In an attempt to reconstruct the accident, we were unable to ignite either a cloth or plastic drape in the absence of oxygen, but both plastic and cloth drapes burned brightly in the presence of oxygen. It appeared likely that the cautery touched the fuzz of the opening of the cloth drape.We now use compressed air under the
Magruder GB, Guber D. FIRE PREVENTION DURING SURGERY. Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;84(2):237. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990040239023