During surgery, when electrical devices are used, patients can potentially incur burns and other injuries as a result of the electrical current. These injuries can be extremely painful and potentially life-threatening. This risk is particularly prevalent in laparoscopic surgery. The following are some frequently asked questions about stray energy injuries.
What does "stray energy" mean?
Stray energy is a complication in minor surgeries. It occurs as a result of a combination of using an electrical surgical device, the heat produced by such devices, and the electrical current involved.
How does stray energy injure patients?
Stray energy can lead to a whole host of patient injuries. These include severe burns from the heat generated, electrical shock, an injury to the tissue or organ, internal bleeding or even a fire in the surgical area.
What is the risk of stray energy?
Although the risk of stray energy and the injuries that can occur does sound concerning, they are very rare. It is thought that in the United States stray energy injuries only occur in one out of every 1,000 electrosurgical procedures.
Are stray energy injuries due to surgeon negligence?
All surgeons and doctors are well-trained to understand the risks of the devices that they use and how they should prevent any dangers for the patient. However, when an injury occurs, the question must be asked about whether the surgeon could have prevented the injury.
If you have suffered a stray energy injury, it is important to seek medical advice and recover completely before planning to make a claim.
Source: fuse program, "Patient faqs fuse program," accessed Oct. 27, 2017