Operating Room Lights: A Lurking Danger in New Hampshire Hospitals

The last thing one expects when undergoing a surgical procedure is to wake up with third degree burns. However, that is exactly what happened to several patients at Silverton Hospital in Oregon last year, after operating room staff failed to replace UV filters on lights in three operating rooms.

Operating rooms, including many in New Hampshire hospitals, often use Halogen or Xenon bulbs to provide lighting during procedures. These lights emit dangerous levels of UV radiation and require filters to protect the patient and surgical staff. When hospitals fail to outfit these powerful lights with filters, severe burns can occur and cause excruciating pain and permanent disfigurement.

Because patients may confuse their wounds with other ailments, burns caused by operating room lights are likely underreported. Indeed, at Silverton, several people emerged from surgery with unusual wounds, including one patient who was treated for a skin disease. It took hospital staff several months to determine the cause.

If a mysterious wound has appeared around your surgical site following surgery, you may have been exposed to UV radiation during your procedure. Please contact one of our experienced medical malpractice attorneys for a consultation to discuss your specific case.