A Washington state man is thankful to be alive after his oxygen mask caught fire and exploded during a routine surgery, Q13Fox reported.
Tommy Beams underwent surgery at Grays Harbor Hospital in Abderdeen, Wash., last Thursday for a one-hour procedure to remove a bump on his head.
Beams told the news station he was put under anesthesia in the operating room, and doctors placed an oxygen mask on his face.
During the procedure, the cauterizing tool caused a spark, which ignited the oxygen – setting Beams’ face on fire.
Beams was taken by ambulance to the burn unit at Harborview Hospital in Seattle. Although he is at home recovering, doctors told him it could take up to a year or more for his face to completely heal.
“It’s just surreal, to see the skin melted off your face and look in the mirror and see chunks of skin hanging from your face,” Beams said. “It’s not a pretty sight. I don’t even really know how to describe the feeling of being burned; other than it hurts (and) it brings me tears on a daily basis.”
Beams said he still feels like his face is on fire.
“When something like this happens, it is a very big deal for the whole hospital,” said Marilyn Heger-Guy, a vice president at Grays Harbor.
Heger-Guy said Beams’ procedure has been done hundreds of times each year, and the hospital continues to do it after the accident. There is an investigation underway to see what happened in Beams’ case, she added.
This is the second time in a week that something like this has happened in the country. A 29-year-old woman in Florida was having a cyst removed from her head when a fire broke out during the surgery. Kim Grice said she also suffered burns over her face and head.