A couple of years ago while working for a home health agency in Riverside County, I arrived at a patient’s home who had severe COPD. She had just gotten out of the hospital for COPD exacerbation and I was there to do a follow-up and make sure she was adequately managing her medications and home oxygen.
As I began my assessment, to my dismay she lit up a cigarette while wearing her oxygen cannula. When I kindly asked her to put it out, she replied “this is my house and I will smoke if I want”. I agreed with her that yes, it was her house, but that it was unsafe for both she and I if she lit up while attached to her oxygen and that if she did not put the cigarette out, I would have to discontinue my visit. Although she did extinguish her cigarette, the story remains fresh in my mind to this day as deaths due to cigarette smoking and oxygen are on the rise.
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