Scheduled C-Section Turns into a Burning Nightmare

A Syracuse, N.Y. woman who went in for a scheduled caesarian section instead caught fire on the operating table and suffered third-degree burns at the hands of her doctor and nurses.

Kira Reed could smell it, but was too hazy under the effects of anesthesia to figure out what was happening. Her mother saw the smoke, and that’s when she realized something was burning.

Reed was on the operating table at Crouse Hospital in 2010 for the birth of her second child with a partition that didn’t allow her to see what was happening. Her obstetrician and nurses told her it was a small fire, and everything was OK. Her baby was fine, but it wasn’t until later she realized the fire was on her flesh.

Improperly Trained Nurses

Reed later learned the 7-inch-by-5-inch burn on her side was caused by the fact that her doctor and nurses began using hot tools to begin her incision before waiting for an alcohol-based antiseptic, DuraPrep, to dry. DuraPrep is often applied to skin before surgery, but 3M, the company that makes it, warns hospitals that it can ignite if it soaks into the patient’s hospital gown or pools on the patient. A spark from the electrical cautery tools used on Reed’s incision could have ignited DuraPrep’s fumes.

The nurses who treated Reed later said they were unaware DuraPrep was flammable and they hadn’t been trained in how to prevent surgical fires. Reed, who needed plastic surgery after the burns and still suffers pain, sued Crouse Hospital and her obstetrician and reached a settlement with the hospital.

Do You Trust Your Doctor?

According to an expert on surgical fire, burning during surgery can happen an astounding 400 to 600 times a year. But having your flesh ignite is just one form of medical malpractice. You trust your doctor to give you the best possible care, but when a doctor or hospital you trust doesn’t take the precautions you expect or doesn’t properly train staff, you deserve to be compensated. That’s what happened to Kira Reed when she was most vulnerable — on the operating table about to have a baby. Reed deserved compensation for her extra medical bills and suffering. She sought it and got it, and so should you.

Malpractice Takes On Many Forms

Kira Reed’s medical team failed her on the operating table, but doctors have failed patients in many other ways, including causing injuries to infants at birth, failing to diagnose cancer or diagnosing it improperly and prescribing medication improperly. Medical malpractice is responsible for about 80,000 deaths a year in the United States.

Contact Us

If you or a loved one has been the victim of a c-section error, contact our experienced team at The Oshman Firm for a free, no-obligation consultation. We have extensive experience in preserving your rights and ensuring you get the monetary damages you deserve to overcome the financial and traumatic hardships of dealing with medical malpractice.


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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