Nursing home patient dies after catching fire while smoking

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. (AP) _ Authorities say a nursing home patient has died after catching fire while smoking in her wheelchair.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 83-year-old Donna Chapman died Monday. She suffered third-degree burns Saturday evening as she smoked in her wheelchair at NHC HealthCare in St. Charles.

Relatives are questioning how long she was left unattended and whether proper procedures were followed. Her daughter-in-law, Mary Portscheller of Wildwood, says Chapman caught fire after she was wheeled onto the nursing home’s patio and left there alone to smoke a cigarette before dinner. Chapman had been partly paralyzed from a stroke years earlier.

A St. Charles Fire Department report says it appears Chapman’s clothing or the foam padding surrounding her ignited.

NHC HealthCare’s administrator, Seth Peimann, described Chapman’s death as “a bad accident.”
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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