Hospital Patient Caused £50,000 In Damage After Smoking In Oxygen Mask
Lee Williams, 44, ended up causing a serious fire at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff and dozens of sick people had to be evacuated as thick smoke filled the ward.
Speaking at Cardiff Crown Court, Andrew Kendall for the Crown Prosecution Service said Williams was an inpatient at the hospital in May 2019 and needed oxygen during his treatment.
He had been in the hospital for two weeks and was repeatedly found smoking by nurses.
The court heard that Williams told staff he 'did not care' about their warnings, and he later spat on one nurse during an altercation.
On 8 May, staff on the ward were alerted to a fire in William's cubicle, and when they arrived they found a growing blaze on his bed.
Williams was found to have a 'blackened nose' and injuries to his mouth, and needed to be connected to a defibrillator and receive emergency treatment following the incident.
The court heard the extensive damage came to the value of almost £47,500 ($62,300), and medical staff had to receive treatment due to smoke inhalation and shock.
The ward was also forced to close for two weeks and 38 patients had to be moved.
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Williams - who has 25 convictions for 68 previous offences - admitted assaulting an emergency worker and arson with intent to endanger life.
Laurence Jones, defending, said Williams was 'remorseful' for his actions, of which he has little recollection.
Jones added that Williams 'may have been in a state of confusion through self-medication', having had alcohol and drug misuse issues since childhood.
Judge David Wynn Morgan told Williams he smoked out of 'selfishness'.
He said: "You were told in the clearest terms you could not smoke in the hospital.
"The dangers of fire were made clear to you. Your response was: 'I don't care, it is my decision to have a cigarette.'
"You put at risk the life of the doctor who rushed to treat you, the two nurses who helped, the security staff who put out the fire, and the 38 patients who had to be evacuated in the thick smoke."
Williams - who was also sentenced for other charges relating to possession of an air rifle - was handed a five-year prison sentence.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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