A Detroit-area man is still undergoing treatments for third-degree burn injuries he suffered a year ago when the lithium-ion battery in his e-cigarette exploded in his pocket.
Scott Becker, a resident of Washington Township, Michigan, told the Detroit Free Press that he had a spare battery for his e-cigarette, which he slipped into his pocket as he headed to a meeting in nearby Windsor, Ontario.
But during the meeting, something went wrong with the spare battery in his pocket and it started sizzling.
“It was like having a firework go off in your pocket,” Mr. Becker, an automotive engineer, told the Detroit Free Press. “I threw my chair back, I started hitting my pants and my hip. I saw the sparks shooting out of my jeans.”
Mr. Becker said that battery eventually burned through his pants and fell to the floor, filling the conference room with black smoke.
The lithium-ion battery explosion, or “thermal runaway” as such incidents are often called, left Mr. Becker with burn injuries that went deep past the skin into the muscle, requiring surgery to cut part of his leg muscle out to remove the charred tissue. The injury required skin grafts and, today, more than a year later, he still as to treat the injury three times a day. Meanwhile, his medical bills have topped $150,000.
Mr. Becker is preparing a lawsuit against the battery’s manufacturer, LG. The store where Mr. Becker bought his e-cigarette and the spare battery do not have insurance.
Karla Klas, managing director for injury prevention and community outreach at the Trauma Burn Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, told the Detroit Free Press that injuries like Mr. Becker’s are becoming more common. She said that an informal poll of about 20 burn centers around the U.S. saw about 300 patients with burns severe enough to require hospitalization.
“Not only are the burns deep, but because of the chemicals that are in the batteries, it’s almost like they are having a chemical burn on top of the thermal burn,” Ms. Klass told the Detroit Free Press.
Source: Detroit Free Press