Nursing Home Allows Oxygen Patient to Smoke in Room Causing Fire that Injures 15 Patients

Fifteen nursing home patients had to be transported to a hospital after a fire broke out on the respiratory wing where a patient on oxygen was smoking in bed. The fire was fueled by the oxygen. Nursing home staff was able to extinguish the flames and contain the fire to one room. The patient who started the fire was treated for burn injuries and the other 14 patients were treated for smoke inhalation.  Read more about the fire.

The article states that "lax supervision" allowed the fire to start.  "It is unknown why staff was permitting a resident to smoke inside the facility or how the resident obtained the cigarettes," the article's author commented.  Concentrated oxygen is a well-known fire catalyst.  Allowing nursing home patients who receive oxygen to have cigarettes and matches isn't just "lax supervision."  It's crazy!  Thankfully, the patients received only minor burn and smoke inhalation injuries.  Instead of counting our blessings, we easily could have been counting bodies.
Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.