Couple sues over mold in oxygen tanks

Full story: KUSA Denver

A lawsuit has been filed in Jefferson County against Apria HealthCare by a couple who claims they have been adversely affected by an uncorrected mold problem in oxygen tanks.
Comments
1 - 20 of 20 Comments Last updated Dec 1, 2012
Freida

United States

#1 Jun 14, 2007
Sue the jerks! And switch to Lincare!
o2 breather

Denver, CO

#2 Jun 14, 2007
Good luck but maybe you should choose a local company like major medical in longmont, those guys are great.
moldyoldie

Pleasanton, CA

#3 Jun 15, 2007
A COPD patient for 10 years? Seems this gentleman has done well compared to most. This smells like someone trying to cash in. Your trial lawyers at work.....now in addition to chasing ambulances, they are chasing home care vans. If the equipment did damage to this fellow, he would not still be around to talk about it. This appears to fit the definition of "frivolous lawsuit." Is John Edwards the attorney?
Jean

AOL

#4 Jun 16, 2007
"moldyoldie" Wrote "frivolous lawsuit"
Take another smell. Oxygen distributors are not regulated, but should be. Oxygen is an RX, and should be maintained by the providers that profit from ill people and receive proceeds from medicare.
Perhaps you are right, most COPD and other oxygen patients are not around during 10 years of mold exposure, might be why Apria had millions of oxygen patients without any complaints.
Perhaps this fellow can create changes that might protect you and yours from mold exposure from medical equipment in the future.
Some HMO's have exclusive contracts with oxygen providers and will not provide coverage for other oxygen suppliers.
fruitful

Mesa, AZ

#5 Jun 22, 2007
Freida wrote:
Sue the jerks! And switch to Lincare!
Lincare has been sanctioned by Medicare for years because of false billings on patient accounts. Lincare just like Apria is concerned with only one thing and that is their bottom line for the next quarter. Trust me, Lincare or Apria is not the answer.
Hello

United States

#6 Sep 27, 2007
Lincare is not currently sanctioned by Medicare.
Learn the Truth

Louisville, KY

#7 Jun 3, 2008
I have been in the home medical equipment for 14 plus years and I can tell you that the big companies are regulated by Medicare, FDA and JACHO a lot more than POOR MOM & POP homecare so for those of you who say that it is all about the profits, you are really mistaken if you think the little home town poor dealer is not out to make a buck you are sadly mistaken, all home medical companies are out to make a profit, Aprias, Lincares, Airgas, and yes even poor Mom and Pop home medical. Learn the truth before junkie comments.
silent sport

Pasco, WA

#8 May 31, 2009
Freida wrote:
Sue the jerks! And switch to Lincare!
Yeah right, switch to lincare. I work for Lincare and I am ashamed to work for them to tell the truth. Lincare has a huge amount of patients sick with infections due to moldy or dirty equipment. I would say atleast half of my patients are sick with a bacteria infection. Likely due to dirty equipment. I hope they go down, they have been taking advantage of the system for a long time. We all pay for it.

“We're all screwed now”

Level 1

Since: Jul 07

Colorado high country

#9 Jun 4, 2009
Yikes. I have been a CRT for 16 years now(not currently practicing)and would have never thought something like this would come from a simple oxygen bottle. To think all those repeat visits to the hospital by some of our lunger's might have been caused by a condition like mold in a tank(shaking head). I know they pressure test them, I think it is like every five or ten years, and that the oxygen inside does expire. Make sure you check the exp. date on the side of the tank, there should be a sticker with a date on it placed there by the distributor. No date, don't accept the oxygen.

Here's my thing:
You get prescriptions from a pharmacy right? Drugs are locked up and dispensed by highly trained individuals...why the hell is a welding gas supply company, like Airgas...run by Bubba and the crew, are supplying medical grade oxygen, a prescribed drug...yes, drug(100% pure medical grade oxygen is classified as a drug by the FDA), to patients in need? I mean really, if you picked up your prescriptions from ohh say, the gas station, wouldn't you be a little leery of that? I know I would so why are people trusting a welding company to dispense a drug such as oxygen? What makes them qualified...how much school did they take to know the pharmaceutical effects and uses of oxygen and why is this stuff not coming out of the pharmacy instead?
Airgas is our main supplier of medical grade oxygen here and that they are allowed to do this has always been something I found odd.
Anyone have any thoughts on this?
silent sport

Medford, OR

#10 Jun 5, 2009
Freida wrote:
Sue the jerks! And switch to Lincare!
LOL, yeah right, I worked for Lincare and I can tell you they are as crooked as they come.
dedranlynn

Clayton, NC

#11 Oct 14, 2010
lincare is the pits most of their employees are nasty and dont ever clarify anything to you and sometimes protect their employees for the shabby jobs that they do. We all should cry out to our insuranc companies. I do, and dont forhet the state medical health board tell them also. tHEY JUST WANT YOUR CONTRACT FOR THEIR EQUIPMENT AND COULDN'T CARE LESS ABIUT THE AY THEY TREAT YOU. SO SOCK IT TO THEM FOR ALL THINGS THT YOU DEEM WRONG ABOUT THEM.

Dedranlynn
dedranlynn

Clayton, NC

#12 Oct 14, 2010
sock it to lincare they are the pits. PLEASE GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. SHAKE THEM ALL BEFORE THEY TURN THEIR BACKS ON YOU AND DO YOU WRONG. THEY CAN BE REPORTED TO PROPER AUTHORTIES
picklehead

Madison, WI

#13 Dec 14, 2010
While on a ski vacation last April, my husband developed high-altitude sickness and the hotel doc brought him an Apria oxygen tank. Ever since, he has increasing breathing difficulty and diminished lunch capacity. It is my opinion this is connected to mold in the unit. Does anyone have a similar story or experience?
picklehead

Madison, WI

#14 Dec 14, 2010
I meant "lung" capacity. He now faces a biopsy and worse.
sickandtired

Newburyport, MA

#15 Dec 14, 2010
impossible....the oxygen tanks are filled under strict FDA guidelines and tested....the oxygen is pure and uncontaminated....sounds like mis-diagnosis to me....

“We're all screwed now”

Level 1

Since: Jul 07

Colorado high country

#16 Dec 14, 2010
sickandtired wrote:
impossible....the oxygen tanks are filled under strict FDA guidelines and tested....the oxygen is pure and uncontaminated....sounds like mis-diagnosis to me....
Did you read my quote above?
Our local company that fills medical grade oxygen is a welding supply company. Strict FDA guidelines, I doubt it. Pure and uncontaminated, I doubt that too. I am not saying mold is the culprit but i have seen dates on the tanks of when they were manufactured as far back as the early 80's. A 25 year old tank cannot be performing as well as new one would.
If I were any of the people that are having problems after using bottled oxygen, keep the tank and have it cultured and investigated. Something weird is going on here.
Boo

Costa Mesa, CA

#17 Feb 2, 2011
Everyone is missing th facts here.
1. Airgas (or any medical grade oxygen transfill operation) is regulated and inspected by FDA.
2. The FDA regulations and guidelines are as strict as any pharmacy in the country.
3. The mold on the Liquid oxygen tank has nothing to do with what is dispensed.
4. The mold is from the condensation from the evaporation coils.
5. Liquid oxygen has to be turne back into a gas, thus running through evaporation coils. Theses coils get frost on them. When they thaw they drip into a drip pan, then through a tube into a holding chamber.
6. This holding chamber has to be emptied from time to time based on ow full it gets.
7. None of this has any contact with the contents. NO WAY NO HOW. Cant happen folks.
I will agree that this could have been resolved through a good cleaning, but to blame it on creating a health issue is bogus. I have over 20 years of experience in this field and as far as something working as well that is 25 years old, well i see some 50 year old vehicles that run far superior to the ones on the road today.
Take the emotions out of this and look at the facts.
Boo

Costa Mesa, CA

#18 Feb 2, 2011
I would also suggest that Bubba and the crew have far more training than you realize. I have worked in a transfill plant and can assure you that the training and retraining is far more intense than any college or university is providing today. To suggest that a pharmacy is far superior to a "welding company" is irresponsible at best. Again get the facts. This story is in regards to a liquid oxygen vessel and not a compressed cylinder as you suggest. The fact is that there are compressed gas cylinders in service that are over a hundred years old that are perfectly fine. As long as the cylinder passes a hydro static test, to ensure the cylinder meets compliance, then the cylinder can be placed into service. FACT: Cylinders do not have expiration dates. Another fact misrepresented is that stickers are used for an expiration date. FACT: These stickers are used with lot numbers on them for traceablity. Dates for hyrdo static testing are stamped on the cylinders. There are requirments based on the material that the cylinder is made from. For example and aluminum cylinder is required to be hydro tested every 5 years. Cutterhelper, your facts are missleading and urge you to dig into the facts before spewing missinformation. I can back up everything I am saying here. CAN YOU??? Remember the spouting whale gets harpooned!!!!!
Me too

Honolulu, HI

#19 Jun 28, 2012
wow.....facts right? Bunch of ignorant folks who had nothing to say after they got hit with knowledge.....impresive how all comments stoped after the facts comments. Lol
oxy man

Roseville, MI

#20 Dec 1, 2012
This is bs it is the patients responsibility to empty the bottle on the side of a liquid oxygen tank. The patient is also required to change the nasal cannulas every 2weeks and the 50 ft extension tubing every 3 months. Trust me patients do not take the proper care of their o2 equipment. Even after repeated reinstructs.

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