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Hospital Injuries: Hand Sanitizer Ignites 11-Yr-Old Patient

It will come as no surprise to our readers that hospital negligence can injure patients in unexpected but serious ways. A recent story is drawing new attention to these risks after a seemingly improbable situation left an 11-year-old girl with severe burns on 12 percent of her body.

The culprit in this horrific accident: hand sanitizer.

This incident occurred in early February in a pediatric ward in Oregon. An 11-year-old cancer patient ran out of her room into the hallway - inexplicably covered in flames. By the time hospital employees were able to extinguish the fire, the girl had suffered serious burns. She required several surgeries to perform reconstructive skin grafts.

It is not clear why the girl had so much hand sanitizer on her body and authorities have not said what caused the fire to ignite. While the details are not known, this is another reminder that doctors, nurses and all hospital employees have a big responsibility to their patients. Hospitals need to take steps to prevent nursing neglect. It is unacceptable for hospital mistakes to leave a patient in worse condition than he or she was before.

Hopefully this accident will lead to an investigation into what went wrong and how hospitals can avoid similar injuries in the future.

Source: NBC Southern California, "Safe Use of Hand Sanitizer Urged After Girl Burned at Hospital," John Cadiz Klemack and Julie Brayton, Feb. 21, 2013

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