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State fines Durham hospitals for inspection violations

Posted May 3, 2013

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— The state Department of Labor said Friday it has fined Durham Regional Hospital and Select Specialty Hospital a total of $9,100 in civil penalties for violations found during inspections after a fatal fire in a patient’s room last year.

The Nov. 6, 2012, fire started during a defibrillation procedure at Select Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care facility that occupies the sixth floor of Durham Regional. A patient was killed and three employees suffered smoke inhalation in the fire, which was ruled accidental.

Duke University Health System, which operates Durham Regional, was fined $5,600 for a single inspection violation. According to the citation, the employer failed to train employees properly on the “potential fire hazards of an oxygen-enriched environment” during a defibrillation.

The citation noted that the violation was fixed immediately.

Specialty Select Hospital was fined $3,500 for the same violation. The citation said the company had until Friday to correct the violation. The company has 10 calendar days to present the state with proof that it has provided the training.

“The penalties are in no way designed to make up for loss of life,” department spokesman Neal O’Briant said in a statement. “Fines are issued to penalize the offending employer but also to get the attention of other employers with similar work environments."

Under law, the money collected will be deposited into a state fund and distributed to public schools.


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  • Caveman93 May 3, 2013

    One Life = $9,100...understood.

  • stymieindurham May 3, 2013

    It's all about the money.