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Hospital fined for explosion in patient's room

The Associated Press

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DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — State workplace safety investigators have issued more than $9,000 in fines for serious violations from a fire that broke out at a Durham hospital as employees tried to resuscitate a patient last year.

The Department of Labor fined Duke University Health System, which owns Durham Regional Hospital, $5,600. Subcontractor Select Specialty Hospitals that leases space to care for critically ill patients was fined $3,500.

Investigators say employees at the hospital were using a defibrillator to try to save the life of 39-year-old Casper Simon Jr. in November when it short circuited. Staffers were also using oxygen on Simon, and the spark from the defibrillator caused a small explosion and fire. An autopsy determined Simon was already dead before he was burned. He was at the hospital after having heart surgery.

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