A 71-year-old Ruffin woman was flown to the Burn Center in Augusta Saturday afternoon May 16.
At 3:25 p.m., Fire-Rescue responded to a residence in the 7000 block of Bells Highway for a patient with burns to her face. On arrival, firefighter-paramedics found the patient with severe burns to her face and airway.
She was experiencing difficulty breathing. She told the crew that she had been smoking while on home oxygen and the oxygen ignited, burning her face. Crews performed advanced airway care to secure her airway and requested a medical helicopter to fly her to the Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Ga. A second Fire-Rescue ambulance also responded to assist with her care.
The CARE Flight helicopter was returning from another response, so an ambulance transported the patient to the Lowcountry Regional Airport to meet the helicopter. Additional firefighter-paramedics were onboard providing patient care. The patient was transferred to the Flight Crew and flown to Augusta.
This is the second incident where a patient received facial and airway burns as a result of smoking while on home oxygen within the last couple of months in Colleton County. Smoking around medical oxygen is a dangerous practice. Residents are advised to avoid smoking, and should never have flammable items such as cigarettes near home oxygen devices, cannulas, tanks or oxygen generators due to the explosion hazard.
Capt. John Schneider served as incident commander.