Woman says oxygen during surgery burnt her face, lungs

By Cara Bailey | Aug 15, 2007

CHARLESTON - A Kanawha County woman has filed a malpractice suit after she suffered burns when the oxygen she was given during a surgery ignited, burning her face and lungs.

Alice Jameson and her husband Clarence Jameson filed a suit Aug. 7 in Kanawha Circuit Court against James M. Henderson, a physician at Women and Children's Hospital in Charleston.

According to the suit, Alice Jameson went to Henderson to have a mole removed from her nose. On Jan. 17, 2006, Henderson removed Jameson's mole, using an electro-cautery tool. During the surgery, Jameson was given oxygen via the nasal cannula.

According to the suit, the electro-cautery tool ignited the oxygen, "causing a fire to erupt on (Jameson's) face and in her airway into her lungs."

As a result, Jameson suffered burns to her face, nasal passages, mouth, throat and lungs, as well as permanent scarring.

Jameson claims Henderson was sleep-deprived when he performed the surgery, because he had been out of the country for two weeks prior to her surgery. She claims his skill and judgment were impaired at the time of the surgery.

"What should have been a simple, minor procedure turned into a major catastrophe due to (Henderson's) wanton and reckless indifference to the health and safety of his patients," the suit says.

Jameson claims she has undergone permanent scarring, emotional distress, medical bills and expenses, and other damages. Clarence Jameson claims he has suffered the loss of consortium and services of his wife.

They seek compensatory and punitive damages.

Attorney Richard E. Holtzapfel is representing Jameson. The case has been assigned to Judge Charles King.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 07-C-1634

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