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Fire fighter suffers intracranial cyst bleed during residential fire operations and dies three days later - Virginia.

Baldwin T; Hales T
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE F2009-22, 2010 Feb; :1-8
On June 4, 2009, a 39-year-old male career fire fighter (the FF) drove a fire engine to a fire in an abandoned dwelling. At the fire scene, the FF performed driver/operator duties. Still at the fire scene approximately 3 hours later, the FF complained of a headache and of not feeling well. An ambulance transported the FF to the local hospital's emergency department (ED). A computed tomography (CT) scan revealed the FF was experiencing an intracranial bleed due to a "hemorrhagic colloid cyst" with "acute obstructive hydrocephalus." The FF was immediately transferred to a regional hospital for advanced care. Despite intensive treatment over 3 days, the FF's condition deteriorated, and he died. The death certificate, completed by the attending physician, listed "herniation" due to "obstructive hydrocephalus" due to "colloid cyst" as the cause of death. No autopsy was performed. NIOSH investigators agree with this conclusion and are unable to determine whether the physical exertion involved in performing driver/operator duties contributed to or triggered his death. None of the following recommendations could have prevented the FF's death. Nonetheless, we offer the recommendations to address general safety and health issues at this and other fire departments across the country. 1. Provide annual medical evaluations to all fire fighters. 2. Perform a preplacement and an annual physical performance (physical ability) evaluation. 3. Ensure fire fighters are cleared for return to duty by a physician knowledgeable about the physical demands of fire fighting, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters, and the various components of NFPA 1582. 4. Phase in a comprehensive wellness and fitness program for fire fighters. 5. Provide fire fighters with medical clearance to wear self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) as part of the Fire Department's medical evaluation program.
Region-3; Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Cardiovascular-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-system-disorders; Physical-fitness; Medical-screening; Cerebrovascular-system; Cerebrovascular-system-disorders
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Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
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Services: Public Safety
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National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division