Man Catches Fire at Nursing Home; Family Alleges Left to Smoulder, Die

A man who was almost ready to be released from a nursing and rehabilitation home burned to death recently when his clothing caught fire. His sister explained that he was smoking a cigarette on the patio when the lighter in his pocket suddenly caught his shirt on fire. Security cameras show him on the patio when it happened.

"He burned to death,” his sister says. “He sustained burns like from mid-thigh up to the eyebrows.”

On the videotape, residents try, but fail, to put out the flames. He then frantically pushes himself back inside to get help.

“The horror, to think my brother is on fire and no one is there?” his sister said.

The video shows frantic workers inside the building spray him with a fire extinguisher; then they roll him back outside, where his smoldering body covered in foam sits motionless. “Doesn’t look like they were trying to take care of Michael,” his sister says.

State nursing home regulators say spraying the man directly with the extinguisher was against the rules.
An emergency response expert, watched the video and says there were numerous additional problems. “There didn’t seem to be anybody in control as to who was to do what,” he says. He also said a blanket should have been used to cover the man immediately and his airway should have been checked.

For more, read the story.

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Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.

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