Burns from Smoking when using Oxygen
One of the most horrific types of injuries wrongful death and nursing home neglect attorney Kenneth LaBore has seen in his career involve oxygen fire burns with elderly residents who continue to smoke, even though they require oxygen and are not provided with adequate supervision to ensure the oxygen equipment is off and put away before the resident begins to smoke. The results can be catastrophic.
As a general rule most nursing home residents have the rights to continue to smoke even if against the doctor’s orders or counter to nursing home recommendations. I have seen several cases where someone who was on oxygen was smoking and a fire with resulted with serious injuries and/or death of the resident. This type of accident is preventable through proper supervision and care from the nursing home staff. Most nursing home staff are the aware of the residents that smoke and they should be given particular close supervision when they are also using oxygen. The need for supervision increases even further if the resident has a history of poor judgment or is unable due to cognitive changes such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia to perceive risks and dangers.
Of course there should be not oxygen tank on the wheelchair or attached to the resident when they smoke. Many facilities have a safety protocol where the lighter and cigarettes are held for high risk smokers and they must sign them out and have someone check to see they are not attached or adjacent to any oxygen tanks or other fire hazards when they do smoke. Not all fires are from oxygen, many are from mattress, drapery and other fires.
Nursing Homes Must Prevent Burn Accidents
To participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, nursing homes must be in compliance with the federal requirements for long term care facilities as prescribed in the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (42 CFR Part 483).
A nursing home must conduct an initial comprehensive and accurate assessment of each resident’s functional capacity. (42 CFR § 483.20). The facility must further develop a comprehensive care plan for each resident that includes measurable objectives and timetables to meet a resident’s medical, nursing, and mental and psychosocial needs that are identified in the comprehensive assessment. (42 CFR § 483.20 (k)) and Minnesota Rule 4658.0405, Subp. 1. As this pertains to burn injuries and fire hazards, each resident’s risk to hazards including, smoking, fire, oxygen, etc. must be assessed and a comprehensive care plan made to protect the resident from that risk.
Federal Law requires that a nursing home take measures to reduce all risks for accidents including, fire risks from smoking, etc.
Accidents. The facility must ensure that—
(1) The resident environment remains as free of accident hazards as is possible; and
(2) Each resident receives adequate supervision and assistance devices to prevent accidents. (42 CFR § 483.25 (h))
Hire an Attorney with Proven Results Helping Burn Victims and Their Families
To fully represent a burn survivor’s interests it is critical to understand the cause of the cause of the burn and the type of burn. There are many causes for burns such as gas, electrical, chemical, flash, hot water and steam; each one causing a different type of injury.
Mr. LaBore focused goal is to hold the negligent party accountable, if possible to ensure others are never injured in the same way and to maximize the recovery for our clients after suffering serious burn injuries. If you or a family member has suffered serious injury or death to an oxygen fire or other fire or burn It is important that you have attorneys that understand the medical, legal and scientific issues associated with handling serious burn injury cases.
As an experienced wrongful death, nursing home neglect and burn injury lawyer Kenneth LaBore understand that the recovery period from burn injuries can be long and require ongoing expenses. He also understands that burn injuries can be incredibly painful and often times can prevent or restrict a person’s ability to work or perform normal activities of daily living. No matter how the burns occur, a vehicle accident, home or apartment fire, oxygen in a hospital or nursing home, gas lines, steam, hot water, or any other mechanism for injury we know how gather the information and facts, work with experts and fire, electrical, medical and other professionals to establish liability and prove and document the elements of the damages such as pain and suffering, medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, loss of consortium and others depending on the facts.
As part of investigation your burn injury or explosion claim we will review the state and local fire and safety codes, investigative reports from the fire department and other regulatory agencies such as OSHA, industry related data specific to the type of burn and facts of case. We will also work with other experts and professionals to establish the cause of the burn or explosion and more importantly what could have been done to prevent the incident from occurring.
There are Several Types or Degrees to Burn Injuries
Burn injuries can range from less severe “first degree burns”, to the most severe burns characterized as “third degree burns”. First degree burns which are characterized by the blistering and redness of the top layer of the dermis also known as dermis. Second degree burns involve the dermis plus the next layer of skin, the epidermis, are involved. There are usually visible blisters and burnt skin. Third degree burns involve all the layers of the dermis being burned away and may also include burning of the subdermal layer of fat.
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury or abuse in a nursing home or other care facility that serves the elderly in Minnesota please contact our firm for a free consultation and information regarding the obligations of the facility and your rights as a resident or concerned family member.
To contact Attorney Kenneth L. LaBore, directly please send an email to: KLaBore@MNnursinghomeneglect.com, or call Ken at 612-743-9048 or Toll Free at 1-888-452-6589.