When a patient enters an operating room, they put their life into the hands of doctors. Apparently when the doctor is in danger, they drop the life of their patient in order to save their own.
On Wednesday, a man under anesthetic in an operating room at Shanghai Jiaotong University Affiliated No.3 People’s Hospital was abandoned by the doctors and nurses after a fire broke out in an adjacent room. Though the man was hooked up to respiratory support, he died from smoke inhalation in a story that has brought media scrutiny and shame upon the doctors and staff of the hospital.
At the time doctors noticed the fire, they sent a nurse in to investigate. The nurse doused out the fire while the doctors frantically attempted to close the mans wound, but they were unable to complete their task and were forced to stumble choking out of the room.
They claim they were unable to move the man because he was connected to life support and to disconnect it would kill him. They were further unable to move the gurney because the wheels were locked and only the nurses knew how to unlock them. As a last resort, they had to leave the man on oxygen support and leave the room for their own safety. The oxygen support is able to last for 30 minutes, but they did not expect that the smoke would overpower it.
It sounds like a case of bad luck and bad timing for both the patient and the doctors. They will probably lose their jobs for not losing their lives along with their patient, which is really too bad since it doesn’t sound like there was a whole lot they could do for the him outside of dragging his body off the operating table (killing him anyway).
If we’re going to play the blame game here, the most likely suspect appears to be the hospitals faulty or inadequate fire suppression system. The nurse put out the fire using a “container of ozone used as disinfectant” rather than fire extinguisher, and staff became aware of the fire because they saw smoke rather than heard a smoke detector.
Hospitals are supposed to be state-of-the-art facilities. If they don’t even have measures in place to protect the hospital, how are they supposed to protect the patients?