Fire that burned girl in hospital blamed on hand sanitizer & olive oil

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by KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 5:14 PM

PORTLAND -- The fire that burned a young patient earlier this month at Doernbecher Children's Hospital was caused by hand sanitizer, combined with olive oil that was ignited by static electricity, investigators said Wednesday.

"She was wiping the bedside table clean from an art project, using hand sanitizer. Her cotton shirt had olive oil on it," lead investigators Dan Jones explained.  "It was like a candle wick that was easily ignited by the static that was in the bedding and clothing in her room."

He added that this was an "extremely unusual event" that cold have happened at any health care facility across the nation.

Girl suffered severe burns

Doctors at Oregon Health and Science University have been treating the 11-year-old girl after she caught fire in her Doernbecher hospital bed on February 2, as first reported in the Oregonian.

Ireland Lane was being treated at Doernbecher because she fell and hit her head at her Klamath Falls home. She is also a cancer survivor.

Ireland was reportedly making crafts for the nurses in her bed, when she suddenly ran into the hallway engulfed in flames.

Stephen Lane said his daughter was using hand sanitizer to clean the table at her hospital bed and some of it may have gotten on her shirt. He thinks static electricity may have ignited the cleaning solution.

"That this would happen anywhere, much less our hospital, was just awful," said Stacy Nicholson, M.D. of Doernbecher Children's Hospital. "Our hearts go out to the child and her family."

Stephen, who was asleep in the room at the time, ran into the hallway and jumped on his daughter to smother the flames.

"I remember being scared at first," Lane said of seeing his daughter on fire, "My hard memories are of putting her out. It's hard to see your child hurt at all, but to be on fire and screaming, you know and then crying, 'help me!"

Nicholson had said before Wednesday's press conference that the hospital would make changes if investigators determined that Doernbecher was at fault.

In the meantime, Ireland has a long recovery ahead.

She suffered third-degree burns to 18 percent of her body. Doctors at Legacy Emanuel Burn Center were treating her.

Ireland's mom Danielle is confident that she will be okay.

"She has her faith," she said.

(KGW Reporter Mark Hanrahan contributed to this report)

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