Lawyer Resources for Burns

burns-in-nursing-homesWhen admitted into a long-term or assisted care facility, it is important that nursing home residents be protected. However, within a nursing home there are burn hazards such as smoking accidents that pose a real danger. A lack of protection by the nursing home staff and administration or carelessness of others has cost many nursing home residents their life. Perhaps the worst part about these deaths is that these burn accidents are easily preventable.

Nursing home fires

Those in a nursing home are at a greater risk for burns or fire incidents. The majority of patients in a nursing home have health and/or mobility issues, meaning that an attempted evacuation of a nursing home facility could be extremely problematic and thus dangerous.

According to the U.S. Accountability Office, the estimate of nursing homes that had structural fires between 1994 and 1999 stands at 2,300. In 2003, there were 31 fire related deaths in Nashville, Tennessee and Hartford, Connecticut in two different nursing home fires. While these homes were not required by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to have a sprinkler installation set up, despite the fact that previous studies have shown that these sprinkler systems are extremely effective when reducing the number of fatalities during a fire. It is important that these nursing homes are held accountable when it comes to fire prevention.

Common causes

Some of the more common causes of nursing home fires include the following three:

  • Flammable medical hazards – Many patients in a nursing home require pressurized oxygen, this puts these facilities at a higher risk for large fires. These facilities are also full of electrical equipment and flammable gases that may start or escalate a fire.
  • Candles – Burning candles without supervision is a potential fire risk. Elderly patients may drift off because of their medication or because they are simply exhausted. If this happens while a candle burns, it may lead to problems.
  • Smoking accidents – If a facility allows its residents to smoke indoors it does not merely increase the risk of fires, it also leads to secondhand smoke exposure. The U.S. Fire Administration suggests that the number one cause of fire fatalities amongst the elderly is smoking.

Elderly are at a greater risk

When it comes to burns and fire injuries, elderly are at a far greater risk. Some of the important factors to consider here are a decrease in mobility, hearing, and diminished eyesight. These contribute to a delayed response and could end up costing residents their lives.

Other burn injuries

Suffering serious burns may be extremely dangerous for older residents. In older adults, the mortality and morbidity rate from a surface burn is much higher. This is because of physical changes and many of the aforementioned factors. It is important the nursing homes protect their residents against the following burn risks:

  • Cooking equipment
  • Heating elements
  • Scalding hot water

Smoking accidents

Many of the assisted living facilities and nursing homes still allow its residents to smoke indoors. While there are many state and local bans or restrictions on smoking in public places, the regulation is not federally mandated. Nursing homes are putting patients at greater risk for health issues and fire safety problems. Even if the nursing home has regulations in place, it is important to enforce these regulations, otherwise a nursing home may be liable for any injury of death that occurs.

Attorneys For Burns Sustained In Nursing Homes

Burns remain one of the most painful and debilitating type injuries. When burns are caused by the carelessness of others, a nursing home patient is entitled to recover compensation from the facility where the burn occurred. Our law firm has fully prosecuted nursing home burn cases on behalf of individuals and families. If your loved one was the victim of a burn injury we would honor the opportunity to discuss the situation and your legal options. We will give you our assesment of the situation without any cost or obligation. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers (888) 424-5757


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People unable to move are easy targets for dangersMost people will accept the fact that immobile elderly residents need more assistance. We accept that these elderly might need extra help getting out of bed and to the bathroom. However, few people realize just how vulnerable these patients are during an emergency. The small Bas-Saint-Laurent village of L’Isle-Verte will stand as evidence of the dangers that immobile elderly residents face.

What happened?

The small village rests along the snowy southern bank of the St. Lawrence River and is home to only 1,500 people. On January 23, a fire in a senior’s home ended the life of 32 of the residents here. The Résidence du Havre burnt down in a blaze. The recovery effort was also initially hampered because of the sub-freezing temperatures. The -4 Fahrenheit temperatures caused the equipment to freeze.

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Burns in Nursing HomesNursing Homes Accountable For Elder Negligence

The incidents of elder abuse have shot up exponentially in the past few years. Where previously elder care homes used to be safe havens for senior citizens of our society, today they have become a nightmare for residents who are left there by their family members. For these elders, who should be revered for their contribution to our lives, living at home with no care and living in a nursing home with emotional and physical abuse is one of the hardest decisions to make.

Nursing homes all across the United States have become wary of the watchful eyes of the Department of Justice and the governing bodies of states that ensure Elder Abuse Laws are not violated. However, despite all the alertness and examples of abuse set forth, nursing homes continue to not only be negligent of critically ill and recovering patients, they even go to the extent of compromising on their welfare at the chance of earning a few extra bucks.

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Accidents with CigarettesAccording to reports from CBS Chicago, nursing home neglect might have played an important part in the tragic death of 62-year old Lawrence Lewis. According to the story, Lewis was outside on the patio of the Lake Shore HealthCare and Rehabilitation Centre when his shirt caught on fire because of a cigarette lighter in his pocket. As residents standing around him were trying to put out the flames, they were unable to do so. Confined to a wheelchair, Lewis was unable to distance himself from the fire, meaning he relied on the actions of the center’s staff members to help him. Unfortunately, the staff response was incompetent.

What happened during the incident?

According to the victim’s sister, Lewis burnt from his eyebrows all the way down to mid-thigh. While accidents can occur, especially at a smoking section, part of the problem was the immediate response from the staff members that followed. The security camera footage shows that the staff members were frantic, unsure what to do next. Despite this being a clear emergency with one of their residents catching on fire, there was no clear designated leader, no one who seemed to know what to do next. The standard protocol would be to place a blanket over the person on fire. Doing so would remove the oxygen from the flame, which would cause the fire to die out.

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Death caused by Smoking IncidentAnother smoking-related incident has claimed the life of a resident at an assisted living facility in Ft. Myers, FL.  According reports in The News-Press, the 79-year-old resident fell asleep while smoking resulting in his clothes getting lit on fire and causing serious second and third degree burns.  The man was airlifted to a regional medical center where he succumbed to his burns a week following the incident.

Police conducted an investigation into the incidnet and ruled the man’s death to be accidental.

Thoughts from a lawyer who prosecutes assisted living facility injuries:

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Fire in Nursing Home Patient RoomJust when I thought I’d seen it all, I just read about a particularly disturbing incident at an Ohio Nursing Home that frankly made me read and re-read the news story to make sure I was truly understanding the details of the event.

According to news outlets, the fire that started in a patient room at Park Haven Home (Astabula, OH) when several people were attempting to mix up a batch of methamphetamine in a make-shift meth lab set up at the facility.

The fire sent several nursing home patients and visitors to the hospital for medical care for injuries related to burns and smoke inhalation.

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My heart goes out to the families across the globe who have lost loved ones due to a fire at an Australian nursing home.  The death toll now stands at nine, while many other patients at the nursing home remain hospitalized in intensive care from injuries related to smoke inhalation and burns.

The nursing home fire was believed to have been intentionally set by nurse at the facility.

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Lydia Health CareA fire recently forced the evacuation of a large Chicago nursing home.  According to news reports, the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago was called out to provide assistance to patients at Lydia Health Care Center in suburban Robbins in the early morning hours following the fire.  

Presently, an investigation is underway to determine the source of this nursing home fire. Lydia Health Care Center is a certificated long-term care facility that primarily cares for mentally ill patients.

For more information on nursing homes in Chicago look here. For laws related to Illinois nursing homes, look here.

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Screen shot 2011-09-27 at 6.16.57 PM.pngGlenwood Healthcare & Rehab is a large 184-bed facility located just south of Chicago, with an “A” wing and a “B” wing.

According to the government’s Medicare Web site, Glenwood received an overall rating of one out of five stars. While this alone raises several red flags, recent surveys from the Illinois Health Department confirm that Glenwood can indeed be a dangerous place for residents.

What stands out most from the four surveys (completed between August and October of last year) are two appalling incidents of what can only be called extreme negligence.

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handicapped smoker.jpgAuthorities are now investigating the smoking-related death of a 62-year-old man at a Chicago nursing home.  The man identified as, Lawrence Lewis, suffered first and second degree burns to more than 20% of his body after his clothes caught fire while lighting a cigarette in an outdoor smoking area.

After struggling with another patient to extinguish the fire, a third person at the nursing home used a fire extinguisher to put out any remaining flames.

The Chicago Fire Department transferred Mr. Lewis to nearby Saint Frances Hospital in Evanston.  Due to the severity of his burns, Mr. Lewis was eventually transferred to Loyola University Medical Center where he eventually died.

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smoker.jpgSmoking-related injuries in nursing homes and assisted living facilities remain a consistent threat to the safety of both smokers and non-smokers at these facilities.

Every year, hundreds of residents and employees at these facilities sustain serious burn injuries due to mishaps with smoking materials and fires started when by smokers carelessness.

I was startled by a recent report of a smoking-related fire at an Arizona Assisted Living Facility that was apparently started by a patient who was smoking in his room in close proximity to his oxygen tank.  Not surprisingly, the man sustained serious burns that will require extended hospital treatment.

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