The Cable

The Cable goes inside the foreign policy machine, from Foggy Bottom to Turtle Bay, the White House to Embassy Row.

Japanese Hospital Inquiry Finds That Lasers and Farts Don’t Mix

A Japanese hospital conducted a formal review of an incident where a patient caught fire after passing gas in surgery

By , a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy.
fart-cropped
fart-cropped

Medical professionals take note: Lasers and farts don’t mix well, according to a formal hospital report released last week in Japan.

On April 15, a fire broke out in the Tokyo Medical University Hospital’s Shinjuku Ward, burning a patient as she was undergoing laser surgery on the lower part of her body. According to an independent committee of experts, the laser likely caught fire when the patient passed gas.

The committee released the report to the hospital on October 28, according to the Asahi Shimbun. The report found that all equipment in the operating room was functioning normally, and there were no other flammable materials in the room.

Medical professionals take note: Lasers and farts don’t mix well, according to a formal hospital report released last week in Japan.

On April 15, a fire broke out in the Tokyo Medical University Hospital’s Shinjuku Ward, burning a patient as she was undergoing laser surgery on the lower part of her body. According to an independent committee of experts, the laser likely caught fire when the patient passed gas.

The committee released the report to the hospital on October 28, according to the Asahi Shimbun. The report found that all equipment in the operating room was functioning normally, and there were no other flammable materials in the room.

“When the patient’s intestinal gas leaked into the space of the operation (room), it ignited with the irradiation of the laser, and the burning spread, eventually reaching the surgical drape and causing the fire,” the report said.

This seems to be the first case of a fart-induced laser fire in an operating theater. The report did not appear to offer any recommendations to keep it from happening again.

Photo Credit: ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @RobbieGramer

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.