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$2,550,000 Settlement In Suit Against Manufacturers Of Oxygen Tank And Flowmeter

John Doe is 76 years old. In August of 1998 he was residing in Defendant Nursing Home. While under their care, he was receiving supplemental liquid oxygen through a facemask, which was covering his mouth. The tank and valve used to supply the oxygen malfunc­tioned causing John Doe to suffer frostbite to his face and mouth. His lips eventually had to be removed.

XYZ Company supplied the liquid oxygen base unit to the nursing home. The base unit was manufactured by Defendant ABC. The flowmeter on the tank was manufactured by Defendant LNMOR It was graduated from 0 to 8 liters per minute.

The oxygen flow for John Doe was to be set at 7 liters per minute. Sometime during the morning of August 21, 1998, the flow of the oxygen delivery sys­tem was increased above the specified 7 liters per minute by the nursing home employees. When the flow rate reaches 28 liters per minute, the oxygen comes out at a temperature below freezing. Defendant ABC was aware of the dangers associated with excess flow and should have installed a restrictor into the base unit so that it could not have been operated at a flow rate beyond its capability to warm the oxygen.

Defendant LMNOP manufactured a defective flow-meter because the metering portion was capable of flow­ing much higher than the measuring portion could measure. This flowmeter could flow 50 liters per minute but was only capable of measuring up to 8 liters per minute. As a result, a user could operate at a very high flow rate without knowing it.

A restrictor in the flowmeter orifice is all that was necessary to limit the flow. XYZ Company did not use a restricted flowmeter assembly on the liquid oxygen delivery system.

Injury: Plaintiff's lips had to be removed. Result: $2,550,000.00 settlement.

Plaintiff's Expert Witnesses: Gary A. Derian, RE., Forensic Engineer, Westlake, OH; Thomas Vaughan, Jr., M.D., Medical Director Respiratory Care Services, San Francisco, CA

Defendant's Expert Witnesses: Martin Andonian, Engineer, New Bedford, MA; Bruce H. Barkalow, Ph.D., RE., Biomedical and Clinical Engineer, Newaygo, Ml; Thomas M. Flynn, Engineer Louisville, CO; Gretchen Hazle, R.N., Nurse, Cuyahoga Falls, OH; Dean Hess, Ph.D., R.R.T., Anesthesia, Boston, MA; Donald A. Kadunc, Ph.D., RE., Engineer, Dublin, OH

Plaintiff's Attorneys: Charles Kampinski, Christo­pher M. Mellino and Laurel A. Matthews of Kampinski & Mellino Co., L.P.A., Cleveland, Ohio.

Doe v. XYZ Co., (Cuyahoga County Common Pleas. Cleveland, Ohio 1999)




Jan 1, 1999


Nursing Home Negligence

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