The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning to hospitals and healthcare providers about dangerous medical carts that can catch on fire and explode. Nearly every hospital and medical facility uses battery-powered mobile medical carts which are used to dispense medication, ultrasound machines, and other medical equipment. If not properly maintained, the lithium or lead acid battery can overheat, melt, emit toxic fumes, and cause fires and dangerous explosions. Fires caused by lithium-powered batteries are difficult to extinguish by first responders.
You can view the FDA’s warning here: http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/ResourcesforYou/HealthCareProviders/ucm534566.htm
The FDA has received dozens of reports about medical cart explosions or fires, with one hospital even forcing patients and staff members to evacuate after a cart caused extensive smoke and a fire risk. No injuries have been reported. The FDA will continue to monitor the problem for any additional health risks to healthcare professionals and patients.
Tips on How To Prevent Exploding Medical Carts
The FDA is urging hospitals to take caution and follow some basic steps to reduce injuries to patients and staff:
- Inspect medical cart batteries for any damage. Look for bulges, swelling or cracks
- Inspect battery chargers for damage
- Contact the manufacturer if you have damaged batteries
- Remove dust around batteries, battery chargers, and the carts
- If a battery does not charge, replace the batteries instead
- Keep the carts away from flammable objects
- Do not block charging station vents
- Do not take objects to batteries or battery chargers
- Take preventative maintenance to keep your batteries safe
If you are experiencing issues about a medical cart, report the issue to the manufacturer and the FDA. Include a description of the problem, the charger ID, and any injuries or damage caused by the carts.
If a fire has started, call for first responders immediately. If you can unplug the charger safely, do so. Otherwise, follow your hospital’s safety protocol for electrical fires.
Injured by a Dangerous Medical Device?
If you have been injured by a dangerous medical drug or device, contact Kaiser Gornick LLP to learn more about how we can help you recover compensation for your injuries. Our product liability attorneys located in San Francisco accept cases nationwide and can litigate a wide range of claims involving defective drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical devices. Having recovered millions of dollars for our clients, we know what it takes to fight for our clients.