Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Medical oxygen tanks may be flammable

Individuals forced to use portable oxygen due to some health issue are completely reliant upon the manufacturers of these products for safety and reliability. Recently, it was discovered that one particular portable oxygen cylinder manufactured by Praxair posed a fire risk, and so according to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) these tanks are currently being recalled.

The threat of fire apparently could occur if one of the canisters was struck or knocked over. There also had been a few reported incidents where ignition actually occurred. Though the fires are apparently self-extinguishing, patients could nevertheless be exposed to the flames and also deprived of the oxygen that the tank was supposed to deliver.

Apparently, some of the tanks have already been serviced and may no longer pose a fire hazard. The fix involves the replacement of an O-ring that seals the area between the cylinder and the pressure-regulating valve. However, despite the efforts to service these tanks, just over 50 percent of the oxygen tanks have been serviced and repaired.

The FDA does what it can to keep such devices safe. Recalls will prevent a large number of these products from injuring the product users. However, recalls will probably not be effective in replacing all of the devices, and there is still the possibility of danger to those still using the product.

Where recalls prove ineffective, products liability lawsuits brought by attorneys and injured clients sometimes gets the message out to manufacturers that every consumer device needs to be designed with safety for the user in mind.

Source: MedPage Today, "Fire Risk Forces Oxygen Tank Recall," by John Gever, Jan. 6, 2013

  • If someone has questions about what to do if a defective products purchased in Pittsburgh or the greater Pennsylvania area, please visit our website.

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