MINNEAPOLIS – Oxygen ignited inside a special hood worn by a newborn infant in a hospital, burning the boy's head and face and leaving him in critical condition.
The newborn was lying in an open-topped bassinet under a warmer at Mercy Hospital in suburban Coon Rapids on Tuesday when the accident happened, Allina Hospital and Clinics said in a statement.
The baby was wearing an oxygen hood, a device that fits over the face to supply additional oxygen, when something caused the gas to ignite, the statement read.
Nurses who were with the baby immediately put out the fire, Allina said. Authorities were investigating.
Allina spokesman David Kanihan declined to release the brand of oxygen hood and warmer, citing the investigation.
The baby, born three weeks early, was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit at Hennepin County Medical Center and is being treated by doctors from the hospital's burn center. Hospital officials said Wednesday that he was in critical but stable condition.
Dr. Leslie Smith said the infant will probably survive. But he suffered second- and third-degree burns over nearly a fifth of his body, including his head, shoulders, part of his face and the tops of his hands, Smith said.
"This is our first experience with burns at this age," said Dr. George Peltier, a plastic surgeon at the burn center.
He was being treated with fluids and medications and was breathing with the help of a ventilator, Smith said. He will be able to use his fingers and hands and should have a normal life, she said.
The boy was just 12 hours old when he was burned, weighs 8 pounds and is named Maverick. Hospital officials did not release the family's name.
Chris Messerly, an attorney for the newborn's family, said that the fire shouldn't have happened, but that the family is focused on letting their baby heal and is not yet considering legal action. The family has one other child, a daughter, he said.
"The family is doing remarkably well under the circumstances," Messerly said. "This is a mother who's never held her son, who's not allowed to touch her son."