Operating Room Fires – Increasingly Prevalent Problem Presents Potential For Product Innovation

Operating room fires, once thought to be rare, isolated incidents, apparently are more prevalent than previously realized. The nonprofit healthcare research organization ECRI Institute published a report suggesting that hundreds of fires occur during the roughly 50 million inpatient and outpatient procedures that take place annually, often resulting in serious injury or death. This is a significant increase from the 50-100 previously estimated by patient safety organizations.

Some medical groups say fires have increased over the past two decades with the increased use of lasers and tools employing electric current. The ECRI estimates that 44 percent of operating room fires occur during head, face, neck or chest surgery in which electrical surgical tools and lasers are too close to the oxygen the patients are breathing.

The current ideology is that the basic elements of fire – heat, fuel, and oxidizer – are always present during surgery, and only through training and instituting stricter guidelines can these horrible accidents be prevented. Unfortunately, few products exist that could lower the risk of operating room fires and explosions. This suggests that the market for such products presents a potentially lucrative opportunity for medical device and pharmaceutical companies to focus their research and development. A patent review similarly shows little activity in this area, again leading to the conclusion that opportunity awards imaginative innovators.

Fuel Is Abundant in the OR

Fuels commonly found in the operating theater include prepping agents like degreasers (ether, and acetone), aerosol adhesives, and tinctures such as hibitane, merthiolate, and duraprep. Other fuels include supplies: drapes, gowns, masks, hoods, caps, shoe covers, instrument and equipment drapes and covers, egg-crate mattresses, mattresses and pillows, blankets, gauze, sponges, dressings, ointments such as petroleum jelly, paraffin and white wax, flexible endoscopes, covering for fiber optic cables, gloves, stethoscope tubing, smoke evacuator hoses and other equipment/supplies used in the OR.

Oxidizers in the OR include oxygen enriched mixtures above 21 percent oxygen used to ensure proper oxygenation of the patient during anesthesia. Whenever the oxygen concentration is above 21 percent, an oxygen enriched atmosphere exists with the potential to feed fires. Oxygen is supplied via anesthesia devices, ventilators, wall outlets, or gas cylinders and all are potentially hazardous. Oxygen can also come from the thermal decomposition of nitrous oxide, which should also be considered an oxygen-enriched atmosphere. Materials such as drapes absorb oxygen and retain it for some time which makes them easier to ignite, causes them to burn faster and hotter, and makes them much harder to extinguish.

The Key Is Controlling Heat Sources

The introduction of lasers, electro-surgical tools and other exothermic surgical instruments has significantly increased the incidence and risk associated with operating theater fires. ECRI notes that the key to preventing fires involving surgical patients is controlling the OR’s various heat sources and preventing them from contacting fuels. Beyond that, however is the potential to reduce the chances materials will combust. Currently, the medical community is completely reliant on alcohol-based antiseptic products and surgical textiles that trap oxygen within their fibers. With the current surgical antiseptic industry alone worth over $500 million dollars, a company that can develop a fire-resistant alternative that offers the same antimicrobial protection found in traditional alcoholic based antiseptics could dominate this market and become an industry leader and innovator.

Just a Few Patents Recently Filed

However, few companies appear to be innovating in this area. Patenting activity, for example, suggests that medical device and pharmaceutical companies have not realized the opportunity that exists in technologies that could launch them as the new industry leaders. In fact, the few recent patents addressing preventative technology innovations are exclusively assigned to individual inventors.

One such patent, for example, describes a fire-resistant phosphate composition with antibacterial, antiviral and fungicidal properties that claims to be ecologically pure, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic and non-allergic. Another patent describes a surgical drape designed to prevent the buildup of trapped oxygen and thereby decrease the risk of fire. Yet another describes an oxygen sensor system that would sound an alarm if oxygen levels are unsafe.

The fact that these fires were significantly under-reported but are now gaining extensive media scrutiny increases the need for innovative companies to address minimizing these risks through their product development strategies. The lack of innovative patents indicates there is a potential to tap into a severely deficient market opportunity. Are you up for the challenge?

Negotiating a Commercial Lease Part 1

This is going to be a series of articles covering some of my experiences and techniques I have used to successfully negotiate Lease Terms. This article is simply an introduction to negotiating a lease and will serve as an outline to the articles to come.

These articles are not going to cater to those of you who own businesses working from home. However, I believe that the tips shared here could be valuable for you in other aspects of your life that concern negotiations. So, you might want to check it out anyway. For those of you who already lease commercial property or are thinking about leasing commercial property I hope these tips help.

This is one area that I did not do a very good job at when I started my first brick and mortar retail store. I really didn’t know how much I could negotiate and I was not very patient during the process. I was amped up to start my business and wanted to get started as soon as possible so I failed to negotiate my terms very well. However, because of that experience I have since learned to better negotiate lease terms upon obtaining a new lease and when renewing my lease.

Now, keep in mind as you are reading this article that a lot of your negotiating power depends on how hot the rental market is or how high the demand is for a particular location. The more demand for a location the less negotiating power you are going to have.


First, I want to talk about the location of your business. The location of your business is definitely crucial to how successful you can be (Location will be discussed in another article in detail). However, you do not want to lease an amazing location that you are not going to be able to afford. It’s not a good idea to think that just because you are in an amazing location that you will be able to afford that huge $10,000 or whatever a month lease payment. Even if you are in a great location it still takes time to build up your customer base and generate any substantial cash flow.

So, as a starting point for negotiating a lease I suggest, especially if this is your only store to open and you are just getting started, to find a location with the following criteria

  • A lease payment that you think you will be able to afford per month based on your projected sales even before negotiations begin.
  • A location that is visible and easily accessible
  • A location that has an “anchor” store nearby and plenty of complementary businesses

Those are just a few criteria to get you started. As mentioned before location will be discussed in depth in another article. Now, let’s get to actually negotiating your lease.

You can negotiate just about any area of your lease but from my experience I have been most successful and I think most beneficial from negotiating the following areas:

  • Length of the Lease
  • Rent and Rent Increases
  • Common Area Maintenance Fees or CAMS
  • Tenant Improvements

Presence: Can Someone’s Inner Wounds Stop Them From Being Able To Be Present?

A lot has been said about how important it is to be present, with there being a number of benefits to living in the moment. For one thing, being present will allow one to embrace what is taking place in the now and to fully show up.

Through being able to do this, it will be a lot easier for them to truly appreciate each ‘now’ moment of their life. And, as their attention will be in the now, their ability to perform a task well will also improve.

More at Peace

Embracing the now can also have a positive effect on their health, thanks to the fact that they won’t be going over the stressful things that what took place in the past. So, even if there is a lot of drama going on around them, they won’t add to what is taking place by getting caught up in what happened before.

This will increase the likelihood of them making good decisions and behaving in ways that won’t lead to even more disharmony. Naturally, if there isn’t any drama taking place, being this way is still going to enable them to create a more harmonious and fulfilling life.

Another Area

Being able to fully show up in the now is likely to have a positive effect on their relationships, too. The reason for this is that another person – that’s if they are also present – will be able to feel their presence and this will be very nourishing.

What this illustrates is that being in another person’s company is not enough; their presence also needs to be there. When this happens, one’s body will be there and so will their attention, which will be felt by others.


They may find that they have the tendency to influence others or to inspire them in a number of different ways. Once they have finished being in another person’s presence, this person could end up feeling uplifted.

One is then not necessarily going to be someone who gets on stage and pumps people up, but they can still have a big influence. Then again, this could be exactly what they do on a regular basis.

A Pipe Dream

Experiencing life in this way will be the norm for some people, whilst there will be others who have a radically difference experience on this earth. Consequently, there are likely to be a lot of people who are looking for a way to be more present.

If someone is in this position, what that they could do is to do a search online. For example, they could end up typing in ‘how to be more present’ and seeing what information appears.

One Approach

This could be a time when they will come across information that tells them that they need to learn to detach from their thoughts. By no longer getting caught up in them, they will be able to embrace the now.

Furthermore, they may be told that they need to make sure that they breathe into their stomach, not their chest. This will allow them to take in more air, and by focusing on their breath, it will get them out of their head and into their body – the part of them that lives in the now.

A New Life

Applying what they have learnt and making sure that they practice every day will probably allow them to become more present. As the weeks and months go by, their life could radically improve and the people in their life could even feel that there is more of them.

At the same time, although one may notice that they have changed; what could also become clear is that they are experiencing a lot of resistance. Not only this, they may see that they are denying how they feel.

Another Approach

After realising this, one might take a deeper look into why it is such a challenge for them to embrace the now. What may happen is that they will come cross information that tells them that focusing on their mind is not enough; what they also need to do is to look into what is taking place in their body.

The view that could be put forward is that what is taking place in their mind is often a reflection of what is taking place deeper down. Changing what is taking place in their body is then going to be a way for their mind to settle down.

Calling out

One way of looking at this would be to say that the reason why one is finding it hard to embrace the now is because of the split-off parts of themselves that want to be heard. These parts that exist in their body are crying out to be heard and, until these parts are acknowledged, they will continue to call out.

The question is: what are these parts and why do they exist? Each part that is within their body can relate to a time when they felt overwhelmed, and their mind would have disconnected from a part of them in order to stop the experience from wiping them out.

A Deeper Look

There may have been moments in their adult life when they felt overwhelmed and there may have been moments during their early years when they felt the same way. It could go back even further, though, and what they went though in a past life could be playing a part.

What took place in the past will then be over, but their body will be carrying the emotional effects of what took place. Thus, unless they get in touch with these parts and integrate them, they will continue to consume ones attention and make it incredibly difficult for them to embrace the now.


Taking this into account, if one finds it hard to embrace the now, they can see this as a sign that part of being is trying to communicate with them. This part of them doesn’t want to be changed or fixed; it just wants to be heard.

The masculine energy of doing is not needed here, what is needed is the feminine energy of being. Surrendering to what is taking place and allowing these split-off parts to speak out can be difficult if one is carrying a lot of pain or if they find it hard to connect to their body (feelings).

This is why external support can make such a big difference. A therapist or a healer can hold the space so that one can go where they wouldn’t go by themselves.