Visitors primarily fuel Florida’s tourism industry—flocking to the seemingly endless beaches and the numerous theme parks, including Disney World. A lesser known, yet very critical aspect of Florida’s tourism revenue lies in the state’s growing horse business. Unfortunately, a tragic accident at one of the farms last month has shined a spotlight on the safety of the business, and may lead to new regulations.
On Feb. 10, a horse at the Kentucky Equine Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Center (KESMARC) South Equine Rehabilitation Center in Ocala kicked during treatment in a hyberbaric chamber, knocking down protective coating located inside the chamber and thus igniting a spark that resulted in an explosion, according to Ocala.com. The horse and the woman administering the treatment died in the explosion. Another woman was seriously injured and was airlifted to the local hospital.
The woman who sustained injuries was from Ireland, and was observing the use of hyberbaric chambers with horses in the hope of taking the technology to Europe. According to DVM Magazine, she told investigators that she was aware of issues with “the valves on the chamber leaking” and that the deceased woman had previously contacted the manufacturer to fix the problem.
Equine Oxygen Therapy explains that hyberbaric chambers are commonly used to treat injured horses by compressing oxygen molecules, allowing them to penetrate into the body at a higher concentration. The body needs oxygen to heal, and the process of exposing the animals to hyperoxygenation allows the body to heal much more quickly. Unfortunately, compressed oxygen is highly flammable and just a small spark can ignite it.
DVM Magazine speculated that the accident might lead to formal certification and new operating procedures for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. OSHA is currently conducting an investigation and would not comment on the investigation or recommendations at this time.
Florida Horse reports Florida is home to over 900 horse farms, housing over 500,000 horses. Further, the organization reports that Florida’s horse industry brings in nearly $5.1 billion in revenue. The state is ranked third in the nation for percentage of horses used in competition and recreation.
KESMARC’s Facebook page identifies the center as an equine rehabilitation facility that utilizes state-of-the-art equipment, including an indoor swimming pool with a diameter of 200 feet, underwater treadmills, Eurociser, one of the largest indoor synthetic jogging tracks in the nation, a hot/cold saltwater spa, and a vertical hyperbaric oxygen chamber.
Our South Florida defective products attorneys realize that people running a business rely on their equipment and technology to work properly. When a defective product causes a dangerous and deadly accident, business owners have the right to seek compensation for the damage caused. If you have been the victim of a defective product, seek legal help to understand your rights.
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