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Family of girl burned at children's hospital pursues legal action

In a story that our firm continues to cover in our blog, it was recently reported that the father of a young girl burden at Doernbecher Children's Hospital has hired an attorney to pursue a lawsuit against the facility and the manufacturer of hand sanitizer involved in the incident. As our readers may be aware, the 12-year-old girl was severely burned in a fire involving hand sanitizer while a patient at the children's hospital.

The fire occurred in February in the young girl's hospital room. She was undergoing tests after losing consciousness at school. Her dad was napping in her hospital room when her shirt caught fire and she ran out. Her father and nurses had to smother the flames. The state fire marshal conducted an investigation and found that the fire was likely caused by a mixture of static electricity, vapor from the hand sanitizer and olive oil used to remove a medical device. It also found that the hospital neglected to appropriately train its staff regarding fire safety training.

According to the girl's father, in addition to the burns she must take pain medication and has nightmares of the fire. The family has also incurred multiple unforeseen costs as a result of the fire. The girl has ongoing medical expenses, needs new hats and clothes to shield her scars from the sunlight and a new machine to help her breathe during the nighttime. She may also need cosmetic surgery in the future. Additional expenses are anticipated, but it is hard for the family to determine what these future expenses may amount to.

Around 20% of the girl's body is covered in second- and third-degree burns. After the fire, she had to spend several days in a pediatric intensive care unit and a month at the Legacy Oregon Burn Center for treatment of her injuries. She received both skin grafts and rehabilitation while at the burn center.

Source: The Oregonian, "Father of girl burned at Doernbecher Children's Hospital is pursuing legal action," Nick Budnick, April 15, 2013

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