Workers Injured, Patient Dead in North Carolina Hospital Fire

By MARTHA WAGGONER | November 8, 2012

A state official says preliminary information indicates a spark and fire at a North Carolina hospital that killed a patient and injured three workers occurred during a defibrillation, a procedure typically used to deliver an electric shock to the heart.

Spokesman Jim Jones of the state Department of Health and Human Services, didn’t elaborate on the specifics of what happened. He said in an email that both the spark and fire took place during the defibrillation early Tuesday at Durham Regional Hospital.

Defibrillation is generally used to re-establish a normal heart rhythm. Fire officials investigating the blaze have not immediately said what caused the fire.

A Durham Regional Hospital spokeswoman said the fire was limited to one room of a separately licensed acute care facility that leases space on the hospital’s sixth floor.

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