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Hundreds of lives lost in home oxygen fires, our new report reveals

Monday, 8 November 2021 08:00:00 Europe/London

Over 500 fires involving home oxygen, resulting in over 300 deaths including two firefighters, have been reported by the US media since 2017, our new study – Firebreaks: A risk-based approach to safer home oxygen delivery - has revealed.

 

There were also reports of over 130 serious injuries, including a further two firefighters, as well as injuries to nearly 200 other people, among them 17 firefighters and two police officers, according to our research. Nearly 200 properties were reportedly destroyed during this period, with fires resulting in damage to over 70 neighboring buildings, and over 100 incidents leading to residents being forced out of their properties.

 

 

The research also examines the impact of burn injuries resulting from home oxygen fires. Over 1,000 patients are treated for burns resulting from fires involving home oxygen every year, according to data from Emergency Room admissions. Severe burn cases can cost $1 million to treat, even without complications, and very complex cases can exceed $10 million. This suggests that the true cost of treating victims of home oxygen fires could run into hundreds of millions of dollars every year.

 

Our report reveals:

 

      • 567 incidents were reported by the media between December 2017 and July 2021.

 

      • There were 316 reported deaths in this period, equating to one death every four days.
      •  
      • Two firefighters have been killed attending home oxygen fires in the past three years, the most recent during a house fire in Oklahoma City in July 2021. In the previous incident, in October 2018, a firefighter fell victim to a piece of shrapnel from an exploding propane tank.
      •  
      • 134 individuals, including 17 firefighters, suffered serious injuries from incidents. The majority of these were sustained by oxygen users and included either burns or smoke inhalation injuries, or both.
      •  
      • Exploding cylinders are referenced in a third of all reported home oxygen fires, posing a significant threat to third parties, including emergency services.
      •  
      • Nearly a third of incidents resulted in the destruction of the resident’s, or another, dwelling.
      •  
      • The majority of oxygen fires (70%) were either caused, or were likely to have been caused, by patients smoking while using oxygen therapy.

 

Evidence has found that more than half of patients with burns attributable to smoking on home oxygen die within a year of being discharged, therefore subsequent deaths from injuries may not be reported. This suggests that the likely annual death toll is higher than previous estimates by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and that the actual figure could be twice as high.

 

Citing a study by the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, our report points out that patient education alone is not a solution to the problem. The center distributed low-cost thermal fuses, which cut off the flow of oxygen in the tubing in the event of a fire, to patients, and found that the number of patients admitted to hospital with oxygen-related burns dropped by two-thirds.

 

Richard Radford, Managing Director, BPR Medical, said, “This data confirms that home oxygen fires represent a material public health issue. Incidents not only affect oxygen patients themselves, but also their families, their neighbors, and the emergency personnel who attend fires. It also reveals the enormous human and financial impact of burns.

 

“The evidence for fitting thermal fuses to oxygen tubing, alongside other measures, continues to grow. An American home oxygen user is still 20 times more likely to die in a home oxygen fire than a home oxygen user in England, where they are fitted as standard.

 

“There is a potential risk of fire for all home oxygen patients, and universal use of firebreaks would be ideal. Installing firebreaks among high-risk patients, however, could significantly reduce the impact of these devastating fires.”

 

The full report can be found here: www.firebreaks.info/unitedstates/

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NEWCASTLE mum Kaja Gersinska has become the first person in the UK to use climate-friendly pain relief during labour after giving birth at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. Kaja used BPR Medical’s Ultraflow analgesic demand valve, which was connected to a nitrous oxide capture and destruction system provided by Medclair.

 

Net_Zero_Mum

 

Entonox, also known as gas and air, is a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen and has been used to provide pain relief for women in labour for over a hundred years. However, nitrous oxide is a powerful greenhouse gas, almost 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and escapes into the atmosphere after being exhaled by a patient.

Kaja gave birth to her beautiful daughter, Rosie Martha O’Sullivan, who weighed 6lb 6oz, in the Newcastle Birthing Centre on September 9. She breathed gas and air via BPR’s Ultraflow device, which is used by over 40 percent of NHS Trusts in England and all regional Trusts in Wales. An Anaesthetic Gas Scavenging System (AGSS) attached to the Ultraflow directed the gas she exhaled into a Mobile Destruction Unit (MDU), which collects and destroys exhaled gas and air, converting it to room air.

 

Kaja said: “I feel very privileged and proud actually – it’s the little things you don’t often think about and it’s nice that someone thought about making these changes which will be better for the environment and for midwives who are working here all the time.

 

Speaking about her experience of the Ultraflow, Kaja added: “I didn’t expect this when I came here today – I just came to have my baby – but I started on the traditional machine and then swapped over. It was quieter and much more comfortable to hold.

 

“It’s nice to make a little bit of history!” she added.

The nitrous oxide capture and destruction technology, developed by Medclair, is widely used in Sweden. It collects the exhaled gas and breaks it down into nitrogen and oxygen, which are harmless.

 

The MDU purifies 99.6% of the nitrous oxide entering the unit. As well having a huge benefit to the environment, it reduces the amount of nitrous oxide staff are exposed to while they work.

 

In order to capture the nitrous oxide in exhaled breath, the demand valve – in this case BPR’s Ultraflow - needs to be fitted with an AGSS tube that redirects exhaled gas into the MDU.

 

Managing Director of BPR Medical, Richard Radford, said: “Nitrous oxide is a concern not only for the environment, but also for the safety of maternity unit staff. Minimising exposure to the gas is a top priority, so we’re delighted to have played a part in this ground-breaking development.”

 

Chief Executive of Medclair, Jonas Lundh said: “Working in the green medtech area I’m extremely impressed by the NHS Newcastle team, I’ve never seen such a display of action on the fact that there is a global climate crisis as we saw in Newcastle. We are delighted to be a supplier to the trust and we look forward to Rosie’s generation being born in a climate friendly way.”

 

Newcastle Hospitals is well known for its award-winning Shine (Sustainable Healthcare in Newcastle) programme and was the first healthcare organisation in the world to declare a climate emergency, in recognition that the climate emergency is a health emergency. The Trust is also committed to the ambitious goal of becoming a net-zero carbon organisation by 2030.

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BPR Medical achieves prestigious MDSAP Medical Device Certification

Tuesday, 13 July 2021 08:00:00 Europe/London

BPR Medical is proud to have received Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) certification for our medical gas solutions. The certification, which has been awarded to just a handful of companies in the UK medical technology industry to date, is validation of our dedication to providing high quality medical gas therapy products across hospital, home and hospice care.

 

The Medical Device Single Audit Program is an auditing standard for Quality Management Systems (QMS) that allows medical device manufacturers to undergo a single audit for compliance with ISO 13485 and the relevant requirements of USA, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Japan.

 

By successfully completing the MDSAP audit, we have demonstrated that our quality management system meets the strict regulatory requirements for the design, manufacture and service of medical gas therapy devices for respiratory therapy and pain management.

 

BPR Medical already provides gas therapy products to the NHS and UK and global healthcare providers. This certification will now enable us to further expand across the five markets covered by the accreditation.

 MDSAP_Certificate

 

The certificate award comes after we received a minimal number of Corrective Action Requests (CARs) during the au\zdit process, below average for MDSAP.

 

Richard Radford, Managing Director at BPR Medical, said: “We have always strived to create the highest quality products, with every device we produce undergoing stringent tests at every stage of the production process. We are honoured to receive this recognition of our commitment to quality and regulatory requirements, and this now means we can continue making respiratory therapy safer for patients across the globe.”

 

BPR Medical is also CE marked under the Medical Device Regulations and, in 2012, we received the prestigious Queen’s Award for Innovation for the development of our revolutionary Firesafe™ range.

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BPR Medical and UK Government donate £377,000 of equipment to hospitals

Thursday, 17 June 2021 08:00:00 Europe/London

Patients in hospitals across the UK are benefiting from a donation of over 10,000 medical oxygen hoses, vital pieces of equipment for respiratory care, thanks to the efforts of BPR Medical and an agreement with the Cabinet Office.

 

The hoses, which are used to connect respiratory equipment like ventilators and anaesthetic machines, were originally ordered and paid for by the Cabinet Office for the Ventilator Challenge programme at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. When the demand for new ventilators did not reach the levels expected and some of the programmes ceased, the hoses were no longer required.

 

As the NHS needs to replace tens of thousands of oxygen hoses every year, BPR offered to send the devices – worth £377,000 – to Hospital Trusts across the UK free of charge, and the Cabinet Office agreed.

 

Work to contact all 176 Trusts started in August 2020, with our sales and customer service team contacting medical engineers across the country by phone. We also created a team to fulfil the requests as they were received. In total 121 Trusts placed orders for 10,770 hoses, ranging in length from one to six metres.

 

Senior Medical Devices Technician John Itter from Salisbury Hospital, one of the hospitals to benefit from the donation programme, said, “The hoses are vital pieces of equipment for delivering oxygen to patients.  Quality is key as they receive a lot of wear and tear in a demanding environment, but nevertheless they still need replacing from time to time. We’re delighted that BPR rose to the challenge and that the equipment is being repurposed for the benefit of patients and the Trust.”

 

Richard Radford, Managing Director of BPR Medical, said, “When we were first contacted to support the ventilator challenge, we were keen to play our part in the national effort. So, when the equipment was no longer needed, we worked with the Cabinet Office and offered to go the extra mile to dispatch it to hospitals.

 

“It’s a win-win situation. Patients and Trusts benefit from high quality respiratory equipment and the Government’s investment is redirected to the NHS.”

 

Gareth Rhys Williams, Government Chief Commercial Officer, said, “We would like to thank BPR Medical for their work with the Ventilator Challenge, and for their hard work distributing medical consumables after the programme to secure much needed consumables for the NHS and value for the taxpayer.”

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Gas control specialists BPR Medical and Medclair, a leading Sweden-based specialist in safe nitrous oxide use, have agreed to share technology and product information to help the NHS achieve its aim of reducing nitrous oxide emissions by 75 per cent, part of its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent within the next seven to eleven years and achieve ‘net zero’ by 2040. 

 

Anaesthetic gases used in surgery and for pain relief have a high carbon footprint. Nitrous oxide - used by 50-75 per cent of women in labour and widely in other departments in the UK - has a global warming potential 298 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). According to the Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service report, published in 2020, the capture and destruction of the gas could reduce NHS anaesthetic emissions by over a third and save an estimated 90 kilotonnes CO2 equivalent (ktC02e) per year if implemented by 132 Hospital Trusts. 

 

The report refers to nitrous oxide destruction technology supplied by Medclair, which has been deployed routinely in Sweden for the past 16 years. The aim of the collaboration between BPR Medical, manufacturer of the Ultraflow demand valve, which includes the option of a gas scavenging system, and Medclair, which specialises in safe nitrous oxide management, is to extend the use of systems to capture and destroy the gas to prevent environmental emissions. 

 

Mikael König, President and CEO of Medclair, said: “The NHS has the most developed nitrous oxide programme in the world and has recognised its duty to safeguard the environment from its harmful effects. The initiative to reduce these emissions also brings significant benefits to the safety and wellbeing of healthcare professionals who are regularly exposed to gas in the work environment. 

 

“Our collaboration with BPR Medical, leading experts in inhaled analgesia systems, is an important step in extending the use of nitrous oxide management systems in the UK.” 

 

Richard Radford, Managing Director of BPR Medical, said: “Our primary focus has always been delivering the safest and most efficient pain relief to patients using our demand valves. Like Medclair though, we are also concerned about the environmental impact of nitrous oxide and the potential harm of prolonged exposure to the gas by midwives and other hospital staff. That’s why we are keen to work with Medclair to support the NHS in achieving its ‘net zero’ goal.”

 

Sources: Delivering a ‘Net Zero’ National Health Service, 2020

 

For further information please contact:

 

Mikael König, CEO, Medclair Invest AB (publ), Tel: 070-486 17 98, e-mail: mikael.konig@medclair.se

 

Colin Hallmark, BPR Medical, Tel: +44 207 736 1888

 

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Cluster headache sufferer finds relief on European Awareness Day

Tuesday, 23 March 2021 10:34:00 Europe/London

Cluster headache sufferer finds relief on European Awareness Day

 

A cluster headache sufferer from Lancashire is now the grateful recipient of a brand new oxygen demand valve, thanks to OUCH, the organisation for the understanding of the condition.

 

Colin Allen from OUCH contacted us on Sunday 21st March - European Cluster Headache Awareness Day - about a patient who was unable to get a new demand valve on prescription after his stopped working. His financial situation meant he was unable to afford to pay for a new one privately.

 

We were, of course, happy to oblige and new demand valve was despatched.

 

“We are very grateful to BPR Medical,” said Colin, vice chair of OUCH. “Ultra-high flow oxygen therapy is a lifeline to many patients, who without it can suffer physically, but also mentally. We continue to campaign for all NHS regions to recognise the enormous benefits of the therapy and demand valves.”

 

For more information on oxygen for cluster headache visit: www.oxygenforclusterheadaches.info

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Home oxygen fires remain a global public health issue despite patient education, our new video: Effecting Change: Safer Home Oxygen Delivery explains.

Building on data collated in our latest study report, the video examines the prevalence and impact of home oxygen fires across the globe, and the measures that can be taken to reduce the risks.

In the US alone, it is estimated that between 100 and 150 patients die every year from fires involving home oxygen - almost double previous estimates. This is largely due to the high proportion of patients who fail to stop smoking. In fact, it is estimated that – despite warnings and education - up to 50 percent of home oxygen users continue to smoke, equating to at least 450,000 home oxygen users in the States.

The video contains footage from new experiments demonstrating how a lit end of a cigarette can result in a flash fire, putting lives at risk and increasing the chances of property damage. It also explains the effect of different oxygen concentrations on the speed and intensity of ignition.

There are, however, measures that can be taken to limit injuries and prevent patient deaths. The video provides an international comparison of home oxygen risk, delivering a stark contrast between the US death rate from home oxygen fires to figures from England.

It explains the measures that have contributed to the UK’s success, including collaboration between stakeholders as well as the mandatory fitting of working smoke alarms and, notably, oxygen firebreaks (thermal fuses).

Click here to watch.

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COVID-19: What BPR Medical is doing and how

Friday, 27 March 2020 10:34:37 Europe/London

Firstly, BPR Medical would like to express huge thanks to all NHS staff for their dedication and selflessness during these difficult times.

 

We extend this thanks to all our staff, who have demonstrated amazing determination and courage to meet the extraordinary demands being asked of us for oxygen equipment, while at the same time managing their personal concerns over the coronavirus.

 

Our supply chain partners have stood with us in solidarity with a willingness to do whatever is required to keep us supplied.

 

To you all….

 

THANK YOU

 

COVID-19: What BPR Medical is doing and how

 

Since 1990, BPR Medical has been designing and manufacturing devices in the respiratory and gas control field with the vision of supporting health services and improving patient lives across hospital, primary care, and community settings.

 

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, our mission has not changed, and we are working even harder to develop and supply crucial products to support the health service as it works to save lives at this challenging time.

 

How is BPR Medical supporting the health service during the pandemic?

 

Many of BPR Medical’s products are being used on the frontline in hospitals in the fight against COVID-19 in order to regulate oxygen and provide respiratory support to critically ill patients.

We are keen to do whatever we can to support the global effort and are working with our customers both in the UK and abroad to deliver vital products in a fair, ethical way.

 

How is BPR Medical handling orders at this time?

 

As hospitals deal with the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, including setting up additional wards and assessment areas, we have experienced increased demand for some products. These include high pressure oxygen regulators and other equipment that can support patients with impaired respiratory capacity.

 

We are doing everything we can to adjust our inventory to address that increased demand.

 

If you have other non-urgent orders, we will do our best to fulfil them, however please be aware that you may experience delays during this time.

 

Furthermore, if you anticipate any large orders of BPR products, please contact us as soon as possible to enable us to forecast demand and deliver promptly.

 

The team can be reached on 01623 628 281 / sales@bprmedical.com.

 

How is BPR Medical collaborating with innovators in the fight against COVID-19?

 

BPR Medical has the regulatory expertise and capability, the design and development teams, the project management disciplines, as well as the appropriate licences and certification, to help support innovators drive through new products to support the cause.

 

We are already involved in a number of workstreams set up by the Government to design and manufacture patient ventilators at scale (the Rapidly Manufactured Ventilator System).

 

If you need support in the engineering and manufacture of a new product, please contact us so that we can explore ways in which we may be able to assist.

 

What is BPR Medical doing to protect its employees?

 

People working as part of the health and social care supply chain, such as medical device manufacturer employees, have been classified as key workers by the Government. We are therefore adhering strictly to official guidance with regard to day-to-day operations.

 

The safety and protection of all our employees remains our top priority and we have therefore implemented additional measures to safeguard their wellbeing as well as that of our customers and patients.

 

In addition to our usual stringent health and safety procedures, all hospital visits have been postponed, access to our facilities by external visitors has been restricted to essential visits only and, where possible, staff are working remotely.

 

The importance of regular handwashing and enhanced hygiene procedures is regularly emphasised and any employee displaying flu or cold symptoms, or who lives in a household where another person displays symptoms, is being asked to self-isolate to prevent the risk of further infection.

 

We are doing everything we can to protect our employees while ensuring we continue to provide the best possible support to health services and other customers at this time.

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The true death toll of home oxygen fires across the United States is likely to be higher than previous estimates by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), our new study - The prevalence and impact of home oxygen fires in the USA – has revealed.

 

The study examines media reports of home oxygen fire incidents in the US between December 2017 and August 2019. It identifies news reports on 311 separate home oxygen fires over a 20-month period. These incidents resulted in a total of 164 deaths, 71 serious injuries, and 119 minor injuries, which amounts to more than one death every four days.

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Home oxygen fire death toll in England falls dramatically

Monday, 25 February 2019 11:59:00 Europe/London

Home oxygen fires in England led to only one death between 2013 and 2017, our Freedom of Information request to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) has revealed.

We asked 212 CCGs in England how many incidents and fatalities involving home oxygen they had recorded for each year over the five-year period. Nearly three-quarters (73%) responded to the request, with only one fatality reported, in the Yorkshire and Humberside region in November 2013.

 

During this period a total of 63 non-fatal incidents were recorded. When the results are extrapolated to cover the full home oxygen patient population in England and Wales (81,000), the results would be 89 incidents and 1.4 deaths – a significantly lower rate than any previous study in the UK or elsewhere.

 

The data, published in our White Paper ‘Home Oxygen Fire Prevalence in England (2013-17)’, reveals that there are almost twenty times more home oxygen fatalities in the US - and ten times more in Japan - compared with England.

During the same five-year period in the US, the number of fatalities involving home oxygen fires, when adjusted to reflect the equivalent patient population, was 27. In Japan, it was 14.

 

The full White Paper report and infographic can be downloaded from www.firebreaks.info/uk

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