Charges Filed Two Years After Hyperbaric Blast Killed Two
- May 4, 2012
- Accident and Injury
Charges have finally been filed after two years of investigating the circumstances that caused two Italian nationals to be fatally engulfed in flames at a hyperbaric clinic in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. According to the Sun-Sentinel, 62-year-old Vincenza Pesce and her four-year-old grandson Francesco Martinisi were burned alive after a fire erupted in the pressurized chamber. The two had traveled to South Florida from San Felice a Cancello, Italy to seek hyperbaric treatment for Francesco’s cerebral palsy. The chief safety technician and the doctor who runs the facility have both been arrested and charged with manslaughter.
In addition, the two men charged did not ensure that the chambers were grounded and correctly maintained, nor did they get them inspected or make sure their patients were wearing the right clothing for the treatment.
The investigation by the Broward Sheriff’s Office showed that the two Italians suffered around five minutes of fire that burned over 90 percent of their bodies before they were rescued from the chamber. They had been in the chamber for around twenty minutes when a static electricity spark ignited the pure oxygen. There were various electrical problems found with the Vickers hyperbaric chambers, including burned wiring, soldered exposed wiring, excessive dust in the chambers, dangerous rigging of cords with electrical tape, and broken lights on the controls. In addition, the two men charged did not ensure that the chambers were grounded and correctly maintained, nor did they get them inspected or make sure their patients were wearing the right clothing for the treatment.
Technician Lance Bark has been charged with manslaughter and Dr. George Daviglus is charged with aggravated manslaughter. The Ocean Hyperbaric Neurologic Center has since been renamed as the Neubauer Hyperbaric Neurologic Center. San Felice a Cancello, where the two deceased were from, is a small agricultural village in Southern Italy located about 30km north of Naples. The boy’s family had garnered support among the local community to raise money to send the child for treatment in the United States.
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