An invalid beneficiary died from burns after he tried to light a cigarette while connected to an oxygen supply, Otago-Southland coroner David Crerar has found.

Patrick John Ferris, 53, of Gore, died on August 14 in Southland Hospital from burns and inhalation injuries to his throat and lungs.

At home the previous day, connected to the oxygen supply which assisted his breathing, Mr Ferris used a cigarette lighter to try to light a cigarette.

"This created an immediate fire which caused the injuries which proved fatal," Mr Crerar said in his written finding.


Mr Ferris, who was terminally ill, had been advised of the risks of smoking while connected to oxygen.

Mr Crerar recommended a copy of his finding be sent to the New Zealand Fire Service, and to the Southern District Health Board.

While he made no criticism of the health board, he sought to enlist its help in drawing attention to relevant clinicians the danger to patients of smoking while using supplied oxygen.