Hospital Patient Dies After Sneaking Cigarette in Oxygen Chamber and Causing Explosion

Was it medical malpractice?

A Chinese man blew up the hospital ward and died after he decided to smoke a cigarette while undergoing treatment in a high-pressure hyperbaric oxygen chamber. The accident occurred in China at the Nanxiong People’s Hospital in Nanxiong city, reported the Daily Mail(7.31.14).

Liu Hung, 65, was in a sealed chamber in which the pressure is increased and the atmosphere inside is saturated with an oxygen rich mixture. The treatment is believed to help certain wounds heal more quickly by helping the red blood cells to carry more oxygen. In Hung’s case, he had a head wound.

It was believed that Hung’s cigarette set fire to the bed linen, which “quickly turned to an inferno when it reacted with the oxygen rich atmosphere inside the small chamber.” The chamber then exploded, reported the Daily Mail.

Apparently, the patient had smoked when the doors were closed, presumably thinking that nobody would see him. Smoking in the hospital was not allowed.

The Daily Mail reported that a melted lighter was found after the accident and Hung’s family had demanded to know why it wasn’t taken away.

According to the Daily Mail, the hospital admitted responsibility in not warning its patient that smoking or taking a lighter into the chamber could be dangerous.

Medical malpractice occurs when a hospital, doctor or other health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes an injury or harm to a patient. The health care provider’s act or failure to act is called medical negligence. Negligence by omission” may be used when the medical provider did not actively do anything to hurt the patient. Instead, the provider did not do something or say something that should have protected the patient.

The Daily Mail story is “Patient killed after blowing up hospital ward when he decided to smoke a cigarette while undergoing treatment in high-pressure oxygen chamber.”

For over 40 years, David H. Perecman has distinguished himself as one of the leading personal injury lawyers in New York City, championing all types of personal injury cases including construction accidents, premises accidents, automobile accidents, and medical malpractice, along with employment discrimination, false arrest, and civil rights cases.