GOODYEAR, Ariz. (KSAZ) - One of the biggest threats to patients undergoing surgery is a fire in the operating room. That's why medical teams practice to make sure they know what to do if a fire ever breaks out.
In this drill, a team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America pretends to be using a white-hot surgical tool to cut into a patient, when suddenly, the drape covering the patient catches fire.
Nurse Melissa Dal Pra comes in. She knows something is wrong.
"What's going on? Okay, I going to be the crisis manager.. shut off gas, disconnect the ventilator, attempting to extinguish fire."
That's the plan, just put out the fire.
"Hopefully, that will be successful, but sometimes in our drills, we like it to be unsuccessful so the group has to troubleshoot to save the patient," said Dal Pra.
"Alright, we are getting ready to evacuate the patient disconnect," said Dal Pra. "All right. That patient's belted. Wheels up! Open the doors, shut off the gas, they are coming."
The star of the show is Alejandro, a high-tech medical mannequin. Anything that can happen to a real-life person in a hospital setting can happen to Alejandro.
"He is the top of the line for our mannequins. He can do just about anything," said Cynthia Daniels, the hospital's clinical educator. "We can have a fire on him, we can have a fire in him, we can have a fire in the room."
The medical team checks to make sure Alejandro is okay.
"Alright, let's get the patient connected, assess for injury, is there any inhalation injury?"
"Vital signs.. all the signs are stable."
In this drill, the patient survives without injury. For doctors, this type of practice is invaluable because even in the best prepared place, fire is always a risk.
"Absolutely. It has never happened to me personally, but it's been well-documented that fires can occur from various things.. and the worst kinds are airway fires.. gases that are used to anesthetize the patient catch on fire and burn the inside of a patient's airway," said Dr. Diego Muilenburg.
This fire drill gives everyone a reassuring feeling.
"How do we feel? Okay. Awesome. We saved the patient. They got out of the fire," said Dal Pra.
Cancer Treatment Centers of America says it conducts fire drills regularly so everyone knows their role in an emergency.