Patient scalded to death in bath

Scalded to Death

17.10.2008

Managers at a mental health centre have been fined £10,000 after an elderly man was scalded to death in a bath of near-boiling water.

George Inwood, 68, who had Parkinson's Disease and bi-polar disorder, died from scalding to 25% of his body after his bath overheated at the Yardley Fields centre in Sheldon, Birmingham.

Servol Community Trust, which runs the centre, pleaded guilty to offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act, and was ordered to pay £10,000 costs on top of the £10,000 fine.

Mr Inwood was at the centre for a short stay in April 2004 when a faulty thermostat in the immersion heater let the water overheat to 95 degrees.

Sentencing at Birmingham Crown Court, Judge Philip Parker said it was "a dangerous trap for anyone who might seek to run the bath, let alone for someone with Mr Inwood's disadvantages".

Councillor Neil Eustace, chair of the public protection committee, said: "This has been a complex and, at times, difficult investigation into the sad and unnecessary death of Mr Inwood."

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Trust, which placed Mr Inwood at the centre, was fined £25,000 at a previous hearing.

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Rachelle Mahapatra from law firm Irwin Mitchell said: "Out of this tragedy is an important message about safety which hopefully other trusts will adhere to stop another terrible accident to a vulnerable individual."