Articles Posted in Burn Injuries

imagesWe want our readers to enjoy safe and happy holidays. And to help with that, we also want to remind our readers about many of the winter holiday hazards that come along with this wonderful time of year. During past holiday seasons, we have brought these dangers to our readers’ attention. In our view, we cannot give too many reminders about these potential hazards. The National Safety Council (NSC) is a great resource for holiday safety. You will find safety tips and reminders on the NSC site, from tree decorating safety to slip and fall protection to poison control. Children and pets need to be protected during this busy time for parents, caregivers, teachers and just about everyone else. We are all rushing it seems, which can cause us to forget safety measures. We can forget things as simple as leaving the dog in a home with Poinsettias which are dangerous for them or  leaving small toy pieces that can be a choking hazard for little ones. Everything from small button batteries to properly cooked food is covered in their materials.

Holiday Road Travel Safety

Last year, the Georgia Department of Public Safety noted that there were eleven fatal crashes and deaths over the Christmas holiday alone. Literally hundreds of crashes and injuries occurred during this time frame. Keep your family safe by making sure your vehicle is road ready. Take a look at our post last week about getting your car ready for winter driving. When you do take a family road trip or even drive to the store, make sure everyone is buckled up and that the little ones are properly secured in their car seats. Holiday road travel causes congested highways, which can fray nerves and cause accidents. Remember that getting to your friends and relatives safely is more important than anything else. So make sure to slow down and drive defensively. And if you have had some holiday cheer and need a designated driver, get one. Too often we see accidents caused by drivers who are under the influence. DUI’s are of major concern during the winter holidays as well.

Holiday Fire Safety from Turkey Fryers to Christmas Trees

First, some startling statistics. Nearly 50,000 fires occur over these holidays. Tragically, there are about 500 fatalities and over 2,000 injuries in past years. Shocking as it may be, the Red Cross says that one out of every 22 Christmas tree fires result in fatality. Holiday home accidents, particularly fire-related accidents, are often caused by cooking mishaps such as fried turkey injuries and fires, unattended candles, dry Christmas trees, unsafe fireplaces, space heaters, holiday decorations and frayed electrical cords.

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Earlier this year, we posted about many spontaneous hover board fires that were causing serious issues, including house fires, all due to lithium-ion batteries. These spontaneous fire events were occurring when the batteries would overheat, often when the hover board was not in use. Similarly, the Samsung Galaxy 7 phone is banned on all United States airlines due to the fact that they can spontaneously combust and cause property damage or injury. If you carry such a phone, you cannot go through security or fly with one of these and you will be asked to discard it.

Now Huffington Post reports that ubiquitous e-cigarette batteries are the focus of concern. About 100 Americans have been hurt by exploding e-cigarettes. The cause is the lithium batteries used in these products. Often the injuries have occurred when the e-cigarette is in the pocket of the user, its batteries overheat and then explode with no warning. An explosion through clothing can cause damaging and disfiguring burns and should be of concern to anyone using these vapor alternatives to smoking. All it takes is for the batteries to overheat is to come in contact with something metal or when one battery comes in contact with another battery. In many cases that have been caught on camera, the batteries begin to smoke and then can spewed sparks, after which there is an explosion. These explosions can hurt the user and bystanders.

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statue of libertyThe controversy over Georgia’s legalization of fireworks continues after Fourth of July celebrations became loud and caused serious injury. At a time when many states and cities around the country regulate the purchase and use of various types of fireworks, Georgia has enacted a law that permits greater use and availability of fireworks. The law won’t just cause annoyance to some over the Independence Day holiday, the use of fireworks is permitted all year long and can be purchased by those over the age of 18. If this seems to have the potential for loud and annoying activity in urban and rural areas alike, it does. Apparently, many residents were alarmed by the proximity of fireworks to their homes and the potential fire dangers in cities such as Atlanta. And some lawmakers are already making their own noise about amending or even repealing the law.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that although many incidents were reported around metro-Atlanta, some county police departments did not see a sizable change from prior years for things like reckless conduct with fireworks. Specifically, Cobb County advised that the volume of complaint calls was not much different than prior years. One Atlanta-area man was seriously injured when fireworks he lit malfunctioned and struck his leg. He was taken to Kennestone and has or will undergo surgery to his damaged limb. It seems likely that lawmakers who want to amend the new law will be collecting information from police departments and hospitals throughout the state.

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In this day and age of lawsuits, the million-dollar award over a coffee burn has almost become a cultural joke. However, it really did happen earlier this year for a Buford woman, Cynthia Nance, who was seriously wounded by a QuikTrip cappuccino machine. As an experienced Atlanta burn injury lawyer, I can assure readers that this case is quite real and very serious.

How did Nance win so much money from such an apparently commonplace injury? Well, for one thing, her encounter with the machine left her with a permanent nerve disorder. But this is not to say that one can win a million dollars–or any dollars for that matter–by simply spilling hot coffee on oneself.

What happened in this case was that 190-degree water shot from the machine onto Nance’s hand and arm, due to a part that had been removed for cleaning and not been replaced. Therefore, the QuikStop staff was culpable for not routinely replacing the part of an extremely dangerous machine.

Burn injuries can be very serious. In addition to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy syndrome, which is what this particular Gwinnett County burn injury victim was left with, severe burns can lead to a variety of crippling conditions, including shock and severe infection.

Since this 2007 accident, QuikTrip has wisely replaced all of its cappuccino machines, presumably to a model that is less likely to cause catastrophic personal injury due to simple forgetfulness on the part of an employee.

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Late last night there was a Lawrenceville fire at an assisted living facility for seniors. Thankfully, no one was injured. However, they easily could have been. The fire allegedly broke out in one of the residents’ rooms when an electric lamp was overturned. According to the report, the bulb broke when the lamp hit the bed, and the mattress and bedding burst into flames.

This immediately raises questions not only about how securely the lamp was anchored, but also about the suitability of the bedding and mattress for an assisted living facility. After all, residents of personal care homes commonly have issues with mobility and other physical impairments. In this case, an “alert staff member” was able to put out the fire and quickly escort the residents to a safe area. But what if the staff member had not been alert…or even nearby?

Facilities charged with caring for the mobility-impaired often make a point of using flame-retardant bedding and mattresses to prevent such hazards. Also, bulbs that generate limited heat, such as compact fluorescent bulbs, are much more fire-safe than their traditional incandescent counterparts. These are just two simple precautions a conscientious personal care home will take to ensure the safety of its residents.

Fire injury precautions are widely considered best practices for facilities dedicated to serving the elderly, and personal care homes are expected to have “fire resistant drapery and bedding,” as outlined in Georgia’s State Minimum Fire Safety Standards, according to the Rules and Regulations of the Fire Safety Commisioner.

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Child Injury1.jpgAnyone who underestimates the importance of making sure kids are adequately monitored by adults will think again after reading this heart-wrenching article about a Gwinnett County burn victim. In it, we learn about a little boy named Alfred Real who nearly died when he and his friend were playing with a grill lighter and a gas can. Now eight-year-old Alfred’s body is covered with third-degree burns, he wears a protective nylon suit while his skin regenerates, and he endures hours of physical therapy each and every day. Everything he used to know how to do, basically, he has had to relearn from scratch.

Alfred’s parents say their son was trying to extinguish the fire another child had caused, and my heart truly goes out to them, and their brave little boy. However, it is worth considering that with adequate supervision, this
Gwinnett County child injury
may not have happened at all. The details of the accident are not clearly by the press–which makes sense, as at this point everyone is probably just giving thanks that Alfred is still alive. Still, it seems clear that if Alfred was supposed to have been watched by a babysitter, a neighbor or family friend, it wasn’t enough to keep him away from a clearly hazardous situation. If such a person was supposed to have been watching him, Alfred’s parents would have a compelling case for legal action on the grounds of the their negligence.

Georgia burn injuries, though common, run a wide gamut from mild to severe. On the extreme end, burn victims can suffer from extreme shock, infection, respiratory problems, nerve damage, and thick scarring that can limit their mobility for a lifetime. Emergency medical attention, skin grafts and other surgery, special wound dressings and garments, and round after round of physical and psychological therapy are just some of the expenses that can be incurred. And that’s just on the time and money end. A disfiguring burn can permanently affect a person’s quality of life, so prevention is critical.

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It’s the middle of summer in Georgia–and as we all know, summer in Georgia means fires. In the past week alone, several fires were reported in Gwinnett County, and I’m sorry to say that more than one of them caused enough damage to leave dozens of families temporarily homeless. Here’s a rundown:

Yesterday afternoon there were three very different fires in Gwinnett County. The first was in Lawrenceville, where a knocked-down tree had apparently pulled down a power line sparking a fire. The second fire was at a Norcross apartment building. Four units were damaged, 25 residents were forced to seek temporary housing, and one was taken to Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth for minor symptoms of smoke inhalation. The last call was for a vehicle fire in Suwanee; unfortunately the car was too far gone to be saved. Collateral also damage occurred in the form of damage to the garage it was parked at and blistered paint to a nearby vehicle.

And Thursday was only the beginning.

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Have you heard about Miguel Mesa, the Gwinnett County middle-schooler who was hit in the face with a bleach-filled water balloon while walking home on the last day of school? Well, as one might expect, the story of what police say could only have been meant as a “random, silly prank” is far from over.

I am pleased to report that the suspects who performed the drive-by deed have been arrested. According to Lilburn police, the high schoolers have all given matching confessions. The eldest, a 17-year-old, is being charged as an adult and has been booked at the Gwinnett County Jail. The rest are being held at a youth detention center. In some ways it seems the case was open-and-shut.

However, Mesa is still injured and is now struggling to keep his sight. Although police say that the teens only meant to ruin the clothes of some unsuspecting kids, it is well known that bleach doesn’t just whiten clothes or keep surfaces clean. It is a strong, dangerous chemical, and chemicals can cause burn injuries. In this case, Mesa’s eyes were burnt by the bleach, and his vision has been compromised. Whether the worst of the damage has been done or is still developing is hard to say. Eye injuries can be quite complex. One thing is certain: this so-called prank has indelibly changed Mesa’s life.

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February 7 though February 13, 2010 marks burn awareness week. This week is designed to educate individuals and families about the dangers of burn injuries and teach burn prevention skills.

Burn injuries are one of the top causes of unintentional death in the United States. Last year alone approximately 2.4 million burn injuries were reported.
Burn injuries range in severity from least (first degree) to most (third degree). Burn injuries are complicated because they affect not only skin but also muscles, nerves, blood vessels and bone. Burn injuries are serious and can lead to debilitating and lifelong issues such as disfigurement, scarring and pain. Oftentimes, burns are due to the negligent or reckless conduct of another person or entity.

Burns can result from a variety of sources, including but not limited to:
Car, truck and motorcycle accidents
• Cooking accidents
• Unattended cigarettes
• Work-place accidents
• Electric wiring problems
Defective products
• Chemical exposure
Burn awareness week provides an opportunity to focus on burn prevention and take some simple steps to prevent burns in our environment.

Some home safety tips include:
• Have an emergency escape plan
• Place smoke detectors on each level of your home
• Avoid wearing loose-fitting long sleeves while cooking
• Don’t leave food unattended while cooking
• Replace all worn cords and appliance
• Unplug all electrical tools when not in use

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A Georgia accident victim who has been injured by a drunk driver, intoxicated driver or a driver under the influence of illegal drugs has options beyond those of other accident victims. Georgia law provides no caps on punitive damages for personal injury victims. Punitive damages are damages that punish an offending driver and deter similar conduct. Someone who is injured where no punitive behavior has occurred is entitled to special and general damages, but not punitive damages. Juries may seek to punish drunk drivers. That money goes to the victim and can often be substantial.

Georgia Drunk driving victims often suffer permanent, disabling spine injuries, burn injuries and other catastrophic injuries because drunk driving accidents often result from head on collisions. Charles Scholle is an experienced DUI accident victim attorney who can help victims of DUI accidents in Atlanta and Georgia.

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