Today, MSNBC ran a story about Operating Room fires. The article states that the latest data reveals about 600 cases annually. A copy of the article can be found here. These fires, sometimes called surgery fires or surgical fires, are completely preventable occurrences.
I have successfully handled a number of these cases, including operative room burns and unintended surgical burns. In these cases, the patient caught on fire because the surgeon did not keep the cautery device away from the oxygen that was being given to the patient during the surgery. The patient also received oxygen at too high a concentration, thereby contributing the likelihood of fire. Doctors and hospitals have known for decades how to prevent surgical fires, yet they still occur. I would say that any time a patient catches on fire during surgery it is a clearly due to medical malpractice and should result in a malpractice lawsuit.