Hospitals are expected to provide patients, employees, and guests with a high quality of care. They are supposed to be a place where ill and injured people can recover from their medical conditions. Accidents such as falls, explosions, and fires do occur in hospitals, however. When the lives of people are endangered due to the negligence of hospital officials or staff, these treatment facilities often fight to deny liability.
An oxygen tank explosion that occurred in the University Medical Center of Princeton in Plainsboro around 9 p.m. on April 11 caused serious injuries to a nurse and left a patient and visitor suffering from smoke inhalation. Preliminary investigation revealed a brief fire followed a very loud tank explosion. The nurse, who appeared to be unconscious while lying on the floor with a facial injury, was rushed to the burn unit of Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, where she was listed in critical condition. Authorities did not immediately determine whether pressure caused the oxygen tank to explode or the oxygen fueled some ignition source, or both.
Patients, visitors, and employees have the right to be safe when in hospitals. The typical hospital nurse is concerned about providing proper care to patients, and a typical patient is concerned about the staff’s level of care and his or her recovery. The possibility of a tank explosion or fire is beyond their conception. But an explosion and fire outbreak can occur in a hospital; and when they do, employees and patients may suffer catastrophic injuries.
Hospital owners and managers are required to ensure that all forms of hazardous equipment, such as oxygen tanks and medical devices, are property transported and maintained. While the number of oxygen tank explosions at hospitals has decreased over the years, these accidents do occur. People injured may suffer disfigurement, disability, and life-threatening injuries that result in hefty medical bills, expensive ongoing treatments and therapies, and loss of earnings.
When a hospital tank explosion and fire cause injuries and the hospital’s negligence caused or contributed to them, then the victims should be compensated. A New Jersey personal injury attorney can help these patients and visitors pursue a premises liability claim against the negligent hospital. Injured employees may claim benefits through a worker’s compensation claim, but may also file against any third parties, such as the oxygen tank’s manufacturer or seller if the tank is found defective.