Oxygen Burn Injury in Nursing Homes

Written By: Kenneth LaBore | Published On: 24th March 2013
Burns from Oxygen

Burns from Oxygen – Oxygen Burn Injury

Stop Oxygen Burn Injury

One of the most horrific types of injuries I have seen in my career as a nursinghome neglect and abuse attorney is that of oxygen fire burn injury with elderly residents who continue to smoke.  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 burn injury 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.

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).

Under the regulations, the nursing home must have sufficient nursing staff. (42 CFR § 483.30)
Questions regarding Staffing:

  • How many nursing aides / Registered Nursing Assistants (RNA) were scheduled to work at time of incident?
  • How many nursing aides / RNAs were working on the floor?
  • What is your normal staff to patient/resident ratio on a shift?
  • Were there any temporary workers at time of incident?
  • Were any employees working an extra shift due to “sick leave” of other workers? Were all the sick leaves covered?
  • Any employees working a double shift?
  • Any special circumstances on the floor which required more staff on the date of the incident?

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))

Nursing Home Neglect and Burn Injury Attorney Kenneth L. LaBore knows that burn injuries are one of the most painful types of injury a person can suffer. 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. It is important that you have attorneys that understand the medical, legal and scientific issues associated with handling serious burn injury and scarring cases. Attorney Kenneth LaBore is dedicated to ensuring that a burn survivor receives the medical treatment and rehabilitative care they need and the compensation they deserve.

As an experienced 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, future restrictions and 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.

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.

Disclaimer

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Kenneth LaBore Offers Free Consultations and Serves Clients Throughout the State of Minnesota Call Toll Free at 1-888-452-6589

Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Lawyer Kenneth LaBore Offers Free Consultations and Serves Clients Throughout the State of Minnesota Call Toll Free at 1-888-452-6589

 

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