Action After Care Home Resident Suffers Scalding In Bath

Specialist Lawyer Hopes Lessons Are Learned From Incident

21.12.2012

A lawyer with expertise in acting in cases of care home neglect has called for lessons to be learned after a care home owner and a care agency were prosecuted in relation to an incident when a man with a learning disability suffered severe scalding in a bath.

Paul Cundy, who suffers cerebral palsy and epilepsy as a well as his learning difficulties, is unable to speak and could not communicate that his bathwater was too hot or get out during the incident in St Austell in December 2008.

He needed treatment for second degree burns following the problems, which happened when he was lowered into the bath several times by hoist. When he was raised for a second time, workers saw his skin was scalded.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive found that a thermostatic valve, which could have regulated the temperature, was not connected to the bath. There was also no formal control system for checking temperature, with inconsistent staff training implemented on site.

In addition, the care plan drawn up by Solar Care Group – then Robinia Care – contained no reference to the dangers of scalding. Solor Care Group and Comhome pleaded guilty in relation to the problems.

Jonathan Peacock, a Partner and medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Bristol office, has acted for the families of victims in cases of care home neglect, including the loved ones of a care home resident who died after experiencing similar problems at a home in Birmingham.

He said: “The most vulnerable members of society need the best possible care and support to get the best from life, but this kind of case highlights very serious problems which could have been avoided.

“Patient safety must always be a priority in care homes and we hope that all care home owners and social care providers can work to ensure that the highest standards are enforced.

“It is absolutely vital that the same basic mistakes seen in this case are not repeated in the future.”