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Biopsied woman awakes to find head on fire

UPI News Service, 10/26/2005 

Cancer patient Jackie Day has sued Swedish Medical Center in Seattle for setting her head and face on fire during biopsy surgery, a report said.

Day, 54 of Poulsbo, Wash., awoke from the May 2004 operation to find her head was ablaze, her attorney told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Day needs numerous surgical procedures to repair the damage but is "petrified" to return to an operating room, lawyer Jane Morrow said.

The hospital in a written statement Tuesday said Day's burns were "immediately and appropriately" treated. It had apologized and increased screening for hair care products.

While the hospital blamed Day's alcohol-based hair product for the fire, Morrow said her expert believes a cauterizing device caused the fire.

"The fire may have spread to her hair product, but that wasn't what caused it," Morrow said.

The suit asks for unspecific damages for the problems Day has suffered, which include discoloration around her eyes and eyebrows that never grew back.

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Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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