Scalding saline injuries: Preventing a rare but serious event in medical litigation

Anaïs Di Via Ioschpe, Martina Brozynski, Olachi O. Oleru, Nargiz Seyidova, Curtis Rew, Peter W. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This study aimed to investigate the causes, outcomes, and compensation amounts of saline-induced perioperative burns, a rare but entirely preventable event. Saline-induced burns pose a significant risk to patients, and understanding the factors associated with such incidents is crucial for improving patient safety. Previous studies highlighted the use of hot saline bags and solution during medical procedures as a potential cause of these burns. A retrospective analysis of cases involving perioperative saline-induced burns was conducted using the Westlaw and Lexis Nexis legal databases. Eight relevant cases were identified and analyzed to determine the causes, outcomes, and compensation amounts. Hot saline bags used for positioning and hot saline solution were identified as the primary causes of saline-induced burns. Out of the eight cases analyzed, four resulted in a favorable verdict for the plaintiff, three cases were settled, and one case was in favor of the defense. Compensation amounts ranged from no monetary compensation to over one million dollars. This study highlights the need for increased awareness among medical professionals regarding the risks associated with saline-induced burns, and the importance of implementing guidelines for the safe use of hot saline bags and solution. Together these measures can hopefully mitigate the occurrence of these preventable incidents, improve patient safety, and reduce medicolegal exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)730-732
Number of pages3
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Burn
  • Intravenous bag
  • Never events
  • Saline bag
  • Sentinel events


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