Newborn in critical condition after oxygen hood ignites



Oxygen ignited inside a special hood worn by a newborn infant in a Minneapolis hospital, burning the boy's head and face and leaving him in critical condition.

The newborn was lying in an open-topped bassinet under a warmer at Mercy Hospital in suburban Coon Rapids on Tuesday when the accident happened, Allina Hospital and Clinics said in a statement Wednesday.

The baby was wearing an oxygen hood, a device that fits over the face to supply additional oxygen, when something caused the gas to ignite, the statement read.

Nurses who were with the baby immediately put out the fire, Allina said. Authorities were investigating.

Allina spokesman David Kanihan declined to release the brand of oxygen hood and warmer, citing the investigation.

The baby, born three weeks early, was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Center and is being treated by doctors from the hospital's burn centre. Hospital officials said Wednesday that he was in critical but stable condition.

Dr. Leslie Smith said the infant will probably survive. But he suffered second- and third-degree burns over nearly a fifth of his body, including his head, shoulders, part of his face and the tops of his hands, Smith said.

"This is our first experience with burns at this age," said Dr. George Peltier, a plastic surgeon at the burn center.

He was being treated with fluids and medications and was breathing with the help of a ventilator, Smith said. He will be able to use his fingers and hands and should have a normal life, she said.

The boy was just 12 hours old when he was burned, weighs eight pounds and is named Maverick. Hospital officials did not release the family's name.

Chris Messerly, an attorney for the newborn's family, said that the fire shouldn't have happened, but that the family is focused on letting their baby heal and is not yet considering legal action.

The family has one other child, a daughter, he said.

"The family is doing remarkably well under the circumstances," Messerly said. "This is a mother who's never held her son, who's not allowed to touch her son."

Well he sure isn't starting off life all that well
That's crazy. I've used those hoods at a couple of different hospitals and have never heard of a fire related to their use. I wonder what sparked it.
Is it possible for a simple static discharge to do it?
I am wondering what actually caught on fire, since oxygen isn't flammable. What is it going to turn into, oxygen oxide?
Perhaps the warmer the baby was under shorted? Maybe it was the mask itself that ignited.
I suppose that makes sense.
Whatever happened, it's a shame
Quote: Originally Posted by ToningtonView Post

Perhaps the warmer the baby was under shorted? Maybe it was the mask itself that ignited.

The warmer shorting seems possible. It isn't actually a mask though, it's more like a clear soft plastic box that rests over the baby's entire head and part of his upper body.

It never fails to surprise me how relaxed people are around oxygen in hospitals though. I can't tell you how many old crabs I've seen trying to light their cigarette while they're on oxygen.

Similar Threads

Hockey Player in Critical Condition
by Cannuck | Nov 1st, 2009
Ethnic tension ignites at UBC
by Tyr | Feb 4th, 2009
no new posts