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11-year-old girl spontaneously combusts in hospital bed due to hand sanitizer, olive oil

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: hand sanitizer, spontaneous combustion, severe burns

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(NaturalNews) What is intended to help keep germs away and patients safe resulted in second- and third-degree burns for a young girl from Oregon, who recently had to undergo reconstructive surgery to repair the damage caused by using too much hand sanitizer. In a bizarre and highly-unfortunate turn of events, a combination of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, olive oil, and just the right amount of static electricity apparently led to the spontaneous combustion of young Ireland Lane, who reportedly has no recollection of what happened to her.

According to OregonLive.com, the fire, which was sparked on Feb. 2, occurred at Doernbecher Children's Hospital (DCH) in Portland, Oregon. Ireland, who had just turned 12 years old, had been admitted to the hospital after falling at school, hitting her head and losing consciousness. Physicians had apparently attached electrodes to Ireland's scalp in order to conduct an EEG exam, which are sometimes removed using olive oil.

After Ireland's electrodes were removed, olive oil was still present in her hair, as well as on her shirt. She had also been exposed to generous amounts of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, which was on her hands and arms. And at just the wrong time, as young Ireland was reportedly rubbing her feet on her bed sheets to experiment with static electricity, she suddenly ignited on fire, which ended up burning 19 percent of her body.

"We found that given the mixture of the olive oil and the hand sanitizer on the cotton shirt, it was like a candle wick that was easily ignited by the static that was in the bedding and clothing in her room," explained Deputy State Fire Marshal Dan Jones about the unusual incident at a recent news conference. "This was a very unusual combined set of circumstances that resulted in this young girl getting burned."

Incidentally, the hospital began to look into the situation further to clarify precisely how the fire was started. But rather than pinpoint the hand sanitizer as the culprit, officials somehow decided that the olive oil was to blame, and are no longer using it on patients who are allergic to conventional EEG gel remover. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, on the other hand, will still be used, despite the fact that it is potentially capable on its own of igniting with the right amount of static electricity.

"The ignition source would not have been adequate to ignite the olive oil on the shirt without the presence of the hand sanitizer as well," admitted Jones.

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