Joint Commission issues new Sentinel Event Alert

Oct. 23, 2023
Earlier this month, the Joint Commission published a new Sentinel Event Alert for modern day surgical fire prevention

On Oct. 18, the Joint Commission published a Sentinel Event Alert on updating surgical fire prevention for the 21st century.

The alert states, “Surgical fires continue to occur and represent a significant risk to patients and healthcare professionals. This Sentinel Event Alert provides updated information and replaces one on this topic that published in 2003. The Joint Commission issues this alert to help healthcare organizations recommit to surgical fire prevention. Most surgical fires and burns are associated with the use of an electrosurgical device while performing head and neck surgery.”

According to the alert, surgical fires can be prevented by creating awareness of and carefully monitoring elements of the “fire triangle.” The fire triangle includes:

  • Oxygen
  • Ignition sources
  • Fuel

The Joint Commission has the Sentinel Event Alert.