Cordero Caples underwent surgery at a hospital in Colorado to start repairing the injuries he suffered after an e-cigarette exploded in his mouth. Caples, a college student and Memphis native, was severely injured by the exploding device. He suffered fractured vertebrae, facial fractures and broken teeth. The nature of the injuries to his vertebrae has doctors questioning whether he will be able to walk again.
Unfortunately, Caples’ experience is becoming more and more common. A Missouri man suffered second-degree burns in January of last year when his device exploded and set fire to his bed. The same month, a North Carolina man suffered burns when his e-cigarette exploded and sprayed hot liquid on his face. A few months later, a bartender in England was injured when her co-workers e-cigarette set fire to her dress. The examples are continuous and numerous.
E-cigarettes, or vaporizers, are supposed to be a safe alternative to tobacco use. Unfortunately, the high prevalence of the devices coupled with a lack of regulation and education are contributing to this dangerous trend. Caples is facing a long and intensive recovery process. He doesn’t have health insurance, and his family is struggling to pay for the medical procedures he so desperately needs.
Sadly, Caples injuries were preventable. The parts of his e-cigarette were incompatible, resulting in the battery providing too much power to the heater coil. Mary Grace Burns, an employee of VaporWize in Memphis, told KRMG, “This is way too powerful to power this, way too hot of a battery. You can have a way-too-high amped battery in there or something like that could easily misfire and cause something like that. It’s operator error though.”
Whether e-cigarettes or tobacco use are healthier is a debate for another day. For now, e-cigarettes are offering a more immediate danger. Any battery-operated device carries a small risk of catastrophic failure, but the risk of explosion is eliminated when the devices are assembled and used properly.
Unfortunately for Caples, a lack of information led to devastating injuries. However, if he purchased the device through a retailer, the sales staff should have recognized the danger of the configuration. This truly is an unfortunate accident, and our thoughts and prayers are with Caples and his family. If you would like to help, Caples sister set up a GoFundMe to help raise money for his treatment.
If an electronic cigarette has injured you or someone you know, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The Rocky McElhaney Law Firm may be able to help you. For more information, contact the experienced defective device attorneys in our Nashville, Gallatin or Knoxville offices today.