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Family of Doernbecher burn victim files notice of intent to sue


In a story that our Eugene medical malpractice blog continues to follow, the family of a girl severely burned at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital has filed a formal notice of intent to sue the medical facility. Readers of our blog may recall the events leading up to the fire caused by hand sanitizer. The young girl had been admitted to the hospital after passing out at school. She suffered second- and third-degree burns in the fire after being admitted to the hospital.

Investigators determined the fire was caused by an unlikely combination of hand sanitizer and static electricity. Her shirt caught fire in the blaze as it was soaked in olive oil used to remove adhesive placed on her head for a brain scan.

The legal notice filed by the family is one of the first steps in the filing of a hospital negligence or malpractice lawsuit. It contains new information as to the family's position in the matter. The letter asserts that hospital staff failed to use the correct product to remove the adhesive and improperly used olive oil. The letter also calls into question as to why the facility made hand sanitizer available to children when the manufacturer warns not to do so. The Oregon Health & Science University operates the children's hospital and has refused to comment on the legal notice.

The tragic chain of events in this case demonstrates the serious injuries that can result from hospital negligence. The thought of being injured due to negligence or malpractice is something that crosses the minds of few Oregon patients. When these unfortunate events occur, however, victims can rest assure that legal recourse is available.

Source: The Oregonian, "Doernbecher sanitizer fire: girl's family files formal notice of intent to sue," Nick Budnick, July 22, 2013

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